At last – school has thumbs up

Jayne Rutherford (Foundation Stage Leader), Tony Mcateer (Head Teacher), Robin Cristian (Deputy Headteacher) and Beverly Briggs (Business Manager)

Jayne Rutherford (Foundation Stage Leader), Tony Mcateer (Head Teacher), Robin Cristian (Deputy Headteacher) and Beverly Briggs (Business Manager)

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

CLIFTON Diocese secretary Nick Tarr has described the road to planning permission for a new primary school in central Swindon as stressful, difficult and wrapped in red tape.

Swindon Council has finally given Clifton Diocese and Holy Rood Catholic Junior School the thumbs up for their school plans, which were submitted in April 2013.

Development will now go ahead on the playing fields at St Joseph’s Catholic College, with contractors set to move on-site in three weeks.

Holy Rood, based in Upham Road, was confirmed as the diocese’s new partner in running the school back in September last year, and since then it has been a bumpy road for Mr Tarr and his team.

“The planning process took a long time because some of the initial work, which perhaps ought to have been done earlier, wasn’t done,” he said.

“Although the need for the school is well-established, Swindon Council has to go through its own due processes.

“No one had spoken to Sport England and technically we had to get their agreement because we were building on land used for sport by the college.

“It took a while to sort all that out and then it eventually gets put into the planning queue. We were tearing our hair out at times.

“I’m not being critical of the planning department, but I had the education department chasing them.

“I was trying to arrange meetings with both departments to get things pushed through.

“It felt like we constantly had to get through red tape.”

Holy Cross Primary School, as the new school will be known, will open up in September 2015.

Next month, Holy Rood Junior School will provide some immediate relief for the growing demand for primary school places in Swindon by opening a reception class of 30.

From September 2015, those reception children will move onto the new site as they begin year one, but those in years three, four, five and six at the Upham Road site from next month will not be moved to the new site at any time.

As the junior school slowly empties, the infant school in Groundwell Road will move over and occupy both sites as a second, full primary school.

“We had a debate last autumn with the parents,” said Mr Tarr. “The diocese and Swindon Council were of the view it would be better to move everyone to a new school – it would be easier logistically.

“But there were some issues around parents, who weren’t comfortable with that and how it would work for their own logistics.

“The majority of parents at the junior school wanted their children to stay there, so we had to listen.”

It is expected the new school will be finished in July 2015.

Comments (7)

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7:03am Wed 13 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Welcome to the public sector where they say why do something efficiently and quickly when you can stretch it out for ages and keep loads of jobsworths in work! Good luck with the school.
Welcome to the public sector where they say why do something efficiently and quickly when you can stretch it out for ages and keep loads of jobsworths in work! Good luck with the school. house on the hill
  • Score: 0

9:57am Wed 13 Aug 14

Al Smith says...

The state should not be funding religious schools. There would quite rightly be a legal challenge if a school was established only for one particular race.
The state should not be funding religious schools. There would quite rightly be a legal challenge if a school was established only for one particular race. Al Smith
  • Score: 2

10:31am Wed 13 Aug 14

jonelway says...

Religion, and religious schools, have no place in publicly funded education.
Religion, and religious schools, have no place in publicly funded education. jonelway
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Alan Bast*rd says...

All primary schools are religious to a point. I'd abolish religion from all schools as it's utter lunacy but until it is then why shouldn't this school get funding too?
All primary schools are religious to a point. I'd abolish religion from all schools as it's utter lunacy but until it is then why shouldn't this school get funding too? Alan Bast*rd
  • Score: 0

3:54pm Wed 13 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Alan Bast*rd wrote:
All primary schools are religious to a point. I'd abolish religion from all schools as it's utter lunacy but until it is then why shouldn't this school get funding too?
I am with you on that one. Just look round the world and see how religion is killing and displacing millions as it has always done and always will because they will never agree on who is right and who is wrong. The answer of course is that they are all wrong but you cant say that in case you are struck down!!!
[quote][p][bold]Alan Bast*rd[/bold] wrote: All primary schools are religious to a point. I'd abolish religion from all schools as it's utter lunacy but until it is then why shouldn't this school get funding too?[/p][/quote]I am with you on that one. Just look round the world and see how religion is killing and displacing millions as it has always done and always will because they will never agree on who is right and who is wrong. The answer of course is that they are all wrong but you cant say that in case you are struck down!!! house on the hill
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Al Smith says...

Alan Bast*rd wrote:
All primary schools are religious to a point. I'd abolish religion from all schools as it's utter lunacy but until it is then why shouldn't this school get funding too?
Because a religious school actively discriminates against those who do not share the same religion. Priority will be given to Roman Catholic pupils over non-Catholics, yet this school is funded by the state.

At a guess a large number of pupils here will be of Irish, Polish or Goan descent (parents, grandparents...). Just imagine (the justified) uproar if a state funded school was to open and the only people who could attend were those of Irish, Polish and Goan descent.
[quote][p][bold]Alan Bast*rd[/bold] wrote: All primary schools are religious to a point. I'd abolish religion from all schools as it's utter lunacy but until it is then why shouldn't this school get funding too?[/p][/quote]Because a religious school actively discriminates against those who do not share the same religion. Priority will be given to Roman Catholic pupils over non-Catholics, yet this school is funded by the state. At a guess a large number of pupils here will be of Irish, Polish or Goan descent (parents, grandparents...). Just imagine (the justified) uproar if a state funded school was to open and the only people who could attend were those of Irish, Polish and Goan descent. Al Smith
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Bobby Bee says...

No Mary Barnard at least. Hurray,
No Mary Barnard at least. Hurray, Bobby Bee
  • Score: 0

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