Top marks as Catholic schools rise to the challenge

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Top marks as Catholic schools rise to the challenge

Catholic schools in the diocese have overcome the odds this year to take some remarkable steps forward. Flavio Vettese, Deputy Director of the Diocesan Schools’ Service, reports.

It has been quite a school year, quite unlike any other and one which none of us could have expected or foreseen. So many of our school staff from across the diocese have many, many years of educational experience and thankfully their resilience, commitment and dedication, alongside strong leadership, has meant that schools have come through this period stronger together.

We have seen some very exciting developments, such as the approval of our new school, St John Henry Newman Primary in Peterborough, reaching the design and development stages. The diocese is continuing to work positively with Peterborough City Council and the Department for Education to ensure the school is established and completed in time for a September 2022 intake.

The academic year 2019/20 was also the first for our new Catholic primary school, Sacred Heart in Swaffham. The important site in Swaffham has been educating children since 1914 through the wonderful work of the Daughters of Divine Charity. The Diocese of East Anglia worked closely with the Local Authority last year to successfully open a new school on the site in September 2019.

The first academic year of running as a voluntary aided primary school has completed, one that provides high quality primary education in the Swaffham area. The number of students within the school is already increasing and we are delighted with the way the school is working closely with the local community to provide another school for the area.

Moving forward into the new academic year our Catholic schools welcome a series of new leaders as term starts

Susan Wilkinson, Chair of Governors at St Francis of Assisi School writes: “Some great news to share with you: our Executive Head, Mrs Kim Payne, has taken up the role as Deputy CEO of St John the Baptist Multi Academy Trust, and our Head of School, Mrs Felicity Hope, takes up her new role as Headteacher at St Francis from September. 

“Mrs Hope has been in post as Head of School for two years, having taught at St Francis for 15 years, she knows the school very well indeed. 

“The Governors would like to thank Mrs Payne for her role as Headteacher and latterly Executive Headteacher of St Francis as she moves into the role of Deputy CEO, working closely with the CEO Mr Conway.

“So in many ways we are celebrating the leadership of our school developing to support not just our own pupils but a wider body of young people in our Trust, and it is wonderful that we can congratulate both Mrs Hope and Mrs Payne for their successful appointments to new posts.”

There have been a number of other changes at senior level in the Catholic schools of the Diocese:

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Lowestoft. The new Head of School will be Mrs Ewa Parker; she takes over from Mrs Imelda Cooper, who retired at the end of the Summer Term. 

St Louis Academy: New Head of School will be Mrs Susan Blakeley, who takes over from Mr Nick Kerin, who has left the school.

St Felix, St Louis and St Laurence: The new Executive Headteacher is Mrs Clare Clark. She was previously Headteacher at St Laurence, and is now Executive Head over the three schools as part of Our Lady of Walsingham CMAT.

St Laurence: The new Heads of School are Mrs Veronica Harvey and Mrs Lizzy Bennett, who were previously deputy heads at the school.

St Pancras: The new Executive Head is Mrs Jill Sandvig (as part of Our Lady of Walsingham CMAT).

We wish all of the new leaders every success in their new roles.

As we face further uncertainty and challenges in the new term we understand the  importance of the work that all of our Catholic  schools shoulder. With God’s grace and guidance our schools will continue to successfully educate the children from across our diverse and wonderful diocese.

Pictured above are pupils from St Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Peterborough