New school gets the green light
5:30am Saturday 8th March 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
PLANS to build a vital new primary school in the town centre received a huge boost this week after permission to proceed was granted by the Government.
The school will be the new home of an expanded Holy Rood Junior School, which will be renamed Holy Cross School, and is to be built on the site of St Joseph’s School.
It is seen as a vital project to the town centre as there is currently a big shortage of school places.
Although the school is unlikely to built in time for a September start, a temporary classroom will be built at Holy Rood Juniors.
The project is being overseen by Clifton Diocese and the school was initially intended to be run by St Joseph’s, but this was altered when it was placed in special measures by schools watchdog Ofsted.
Now both the diocese and Holy Rood are confident the new school will be a big boost to the town.
Holy Rood headteacher Tony McAteer, said: “Expansion into an all-through primary school is very exciting and we are delighted to be able to offer 30 reception class places in September to meet local demand.
“The Catholic Christian ethos of the existing school will be retained by Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, providing pupils with an excellent education.
“The new school on Queen's Drive should be ready for occupation in September 2015 and will offer outstanding primary school facilities.”
Parents are now to be given an opportunity to apply for a place at the school even though the period for primary school applications has passed.
It was not possible to offer parents the opportunity to apply for the new Holy Cross Primary School in the recent primary school places application process, which ended in January, because the school had not been given the go-ahead by the Education Funding Agency.
Councillor Fionuala Foley (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn), cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I am pleased and relieved we can offer parents these much-needed new places in time for the new September term.
“We will be contacting all those parents who expressed an interest to us in the new school to let them know they can now apply, as can any other parents in the borough.”
An open day has been arranged on March 20 when parents and family members will be welcomed into school to view the facilities on the school site and to see the school ‘in action’ with the children participating in their usual lessons and activities.
Applications from parents for Holy Cross for September 2014 should be submitted to the council’s admissions team by noon on Friday, March 21.
A Catholic supplementary form, available from the school or the council, will also need to be submitted to Holy Rood Junior School.
Letters and e-mails informing parents of the places offered to their children will go out on Wednesday, April 16.
Swindon Council Admissions Department can be contacted on 01793 465790 or 01793 465766. Further information is also available from the school office on 01793 527679 or on the website www.holyrood.swindon.sch.uk.