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Funding boost for Sacred Heart primary in Swaffham

Sacred Heart Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School in Swaffham has been selected by the Department for Education to be included in the latest round of its Schools Rebuilding Programme (SRP) for priority funding.

The SRP aims to replace or significantly refurbish the poorest condition buildings in 500 of the 25,000 schools in England over the next 10 years. 100 of these schools were identified in 2021, and Sacred Heart has now been identified within the 2022-23 phase of the programme, which currently includes an additional 61 schools, including four in Norfolk.

The Diocese of East Anglia took over the school from the Daughters of Divine Charity in September 2019 and appointed a new Headteacher, Simon Blain, who started in September 2021 and has recently appointed a new Assistant Headteacher, Jessica Woolner.

The SRP funding is for a large-scale project to replace or significantly refurbish one or more buildings at the school.

The Diocese has made a significant capital investment approaching £1 million in the last three years at Sacred Heart, including a new roof, new boilers, new office and replacement fencing. A new pedestrian access will be provided over the summer holiday to improve safety, as well as other health and safety improvements.

At the same time the Diocese recognises that the condition of Sacred Heart’s buildings was amongst the worst within its family of schools, said Helen Bates, Assistant Director of Diocesan Schools, and submitted a bid to the DfE.

“We are thrilled that the DfE has also recognised this level of need and we look forward to working with them in identifying the scope of the building work to be undertaken over the next few years at Sacred Heart,” said Helen.

“Pupil numbers have been growing steadily since September 2019 from around 60 to over 100 now, and with house building continuing in and around Swaffham, we expect these numbers to continue to rise.”

Headteacher Simon Blain said: “I am delighted that Sacred Heart has been chosen to be part of the School Rebuilding Programme.  This is a wonderful opportunity to help our pupils grow and learn in an outstanding environment.  We are a relatively new and growing primary school with huge aspirations for its pupils and community.  We are very excited for the future of all who are part of Sacred Heart.”

Chair of Governors, Flavio Vettese, said: “All the Governors are delighted at this wonderful news. Over the past three years significant support has been given by the Diocese of East Anglia and the rebuilding programme will ensure that Sacred Heart will be brilliantly placed to serve the pupils of Swaffham with an excellent school right at the heart of the town.”