10 March 2021, The Tablet

Trouble in paradise: Catholic school plan divides community

Trouble in paradise: Catholic school plan divides community

An impression of the proposed school


Plans to build a new Catholic primary school in Peterborough have divided the local community

Hampton, a town to the south of Peterborough, in Cam­bridge­shire, is on the up. Thirty years ago it was nothing but abandoned brick pits; since then thousands of homes have sprung up. Three primary and two secondary schools have followed, along with a shopping centre, restaurants, lakes and open spaces.

But all is not well within this Eden of purpose-built convenience. Since it was announced in 2019 that a fourth primary could be Catholic, fierce opposition has been unleashed that has left many local Catholics feeling intimidated and bruised.

The 630-pupil St John Henry Newman Catholic Primary School (SJHN) and 26-place nursery, to be built in part of the development called Hampton Water, will be the first Catholic school in England to open in almost ten years. The Diocese of East Anglia established that there was a high level of need for a new Catholic primary school several years ago, says Helen Bates, the diocese’s deputy director of education.

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