New Catholic primary school in Swaffham is approved

Following strong public support, Norfolk County Council has approved the Diocese of East Anglia’s proposal to open a new 210-place primary school on the site of the current Sacred Heart School in Swaffham, which is due to close at the end of the summer term.


The new Voluntary Aided, non-fee paying, primary school will open on September 1, 2019 with 210 places and a 25-place maintained nursery class.

Helen Bates, Assistant Director for Schools for the Diocese, said: “This is fantastic news for current and future parents and pupils, the local Swaffham community and for Catholic education in Norfolk.

“We would like to thank everyone who supported our proposal, without which this would not have been possible. Now the hard work really starts to make sure that the school is up and running in less than four months.”

Sr Francis Ridler, headteacher of Sacred Heart School, said: “I am pleased that the legacy of the Sisters who arrived from Vienna in 1914 to set up a school in Swaffham will continue through the new VA Catholic Primary School.  It has been a long journey to finally have free education on the site of the Sacred Heart Convent.  This is something those early Sisters who spoke halting English and had little money had anticipated but were completely unaware of our English system.

“After much praying and hard work by a gallant group from the school and Diocese, parents, pupils and staff both past and present we will have secured the continuation of the Daughters of Divine Charity’s ethos, Service before Self.  May all who have given encouragement and loyalty to this venture feel proud of this achievement.

“So we rejoice and thank God but would also like to remember those staff, families and pupils who were sad that their Senior School must close.”

There will be a day of thanksgiving and celebration for all the past staff, parents and pupils on June 29, 105 years after the school’s formation.

Further information regarding admission to the school in September will be available from Sacred Heart School’s office and on the Diocese’s website at www.rcdea.org.uk/sacredheartva from Monday May 20.

Click here for September 2019 admissions documents.

A website for the new school is currently being developed which will provide parents with information about the new school as it becomes available.

Copies of Norfolk County Council’s determination report and notice can be found at https://Norfolk.citizenspace.com/childrens-services/sacred-heart 

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