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Diocese after local champions to support Norwich and Thetford Catholic schools vision

PUBLISHED: 11:59 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 18 January 2017

Students at Notre Dame High School, part of the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Keith Morris

Students at Notre Dame High School, part of the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Keith Morris

Archant

Local people are being sought to help the Diocese of East Anglia champion its plans for new Catholic schools in Norwich and Thetford.

Helen Bates, assistant director of the school's service at the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Keith Morris Helen Bates, assistant director of the school's service at the Diocese of East Anglia. Picture: Keith Morris

The Diocese’s schools team is looking for parents, education professionals and parishioners who are keen to support the move.

Norwich and Thetford have been identified as particularly in need of school places, with possible sites for new schools already allocated.

The local champions would help the Diocese win support from communities and show there is a demand for places, factors it needs to include in its application for the new schools to the Department for Education.

Helen Bates, assistant director for schools at the Diocese, said: “It is a very exciting time and we are really looking forward to opening new schools which are desperately needed to meet the demand we already have here in East Anglia.

“We want to hear from anyone who supports our plans in the areas we have identified, to firstly sign up to register interest in their children attending a new Catholic school and also to encourage others they know, to also sign up.

“The level of support for any new schools will be a key factor that the government will be looking at in deciding whether to approve a new Catholic school or not, and we need to be able to show this demand when we submit out bid in March.”

A new Catholic primary school is being proposed in Thetford, while two primaries and possible sixth form provision is in the plans for north and central Norwich.

The Sacred Heart Convent School in Swaffham is also considering becoming a free school.

The applications need to be with the DfE by March. If successful, it is expected that the earliest a school could open would be September 2019.

Parents can register their interest in any of the new schools at http://rcdea.org.uk/freeschools/
To become a champion, contact Mrs Bates on 01508 495509 or at helen.bates@rcdea.org.uk

• Have you been affected by a lack of school places? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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