School plans still making progress
PLANS to build a new primary school in the centre of Swindon are still progressing, if not as fast as originally hoped.
Clifton Diocese is overseeing a plan to build in the grounds of St Joseph’s School to provide more places in the town centre.
Originally, St Joseph’s was set to run the school but after it was placed in special measures last year Holy Rood Junior School took over the project.
The plan is for them to move into the new premises which would allow them to provide for almost 200 more pupils.
Holy Rood Infant School will then move into the empty premises in Upham Road and become a through school, offering more places.
Although work is progressing, the changing of schools in charge, along with planning issues, has meant the whole process has been delayed.
Diocesan secretary Nick Tarr, who is in charge of the project, said: “Things are progressing but probably not at the rate we were initially hoping.
“At the moment we have several hurdles which need to be overcome but things are moving forward. “We need the conformation from the Department Of Education but I understand that is close to going before a minister.
“The planning process is taking slightly longer as there are concerns the new school will take away a playing field at St Joseph’s but that is not what is happening so we should be able to get past that.”
The overall project is set to cost about £4m, of which about £3.5m will come from the Government. It is set to cost Clifton Diocese in the region of £500,000 but most of that is likely to be spent on moving the infant school to Upham Road.
The school will eventually cater for just over 450 pupils. Ideally the plan is for the school to open in 2015 but this will be dependent on how long it takes to get clearance.
Nick said: “In total, it is a 12- month building project so we are some way from the cut-off point when we will have to start building to be open on time.
“What we have done is added some classrooms to Holy Rood Junior School so in the short term we can start with our expansion.
“We see this as a fantastic opportunity to help improve the Catholic primary education and that is why we are putting time and money into it.
“At the moment it is my number one priority to get this school up and running.”
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