Diocese reassures parents over proposed merger of Norwich Catholic school

The Diocese of East Anglia has assured parents it would not be pursuing plans to merge two Catholic schools in Norwich if it did not think pupils would benefit.

In a statement, the diocesan schools service commission said it believed the amalgamation of the St John's Infant and St Thomas More Junior schools would combat the potential 'dip' experienced by youngsters when moving between schools.

It comes as parents attended public meetings to find out more about the proposals, which would create a new Catholic primary school on the current St Thomas More site on Jessop Road.

Headteacher Kim Payne, governors and the diocese have acknowledged parents' concerns about reduced pupil numbers and the loss of the St John's site. But in a statement the Diocese of East Anglia said: 'The diocese feels that the proposals would be a great benefit to the education of those children entrusted to the care of our schools, and would not otherwise be pursuing such a policy. Their educational and pastoral welfare is paramount.'

It insisted no decision over whether to go ahead with the proposals – which would need approval from the county council – had been made.

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But the diocese said it believed the merger would lead to 'closer co-operation between staff ... provide a wider range of expertise amongst staff, and enable the provision of new facilities for ICT and PE'.

The diocese said pupil places at the junior school level would be gradually reduced but insisted it would be in line with current numbers since St Thomas More is not full.

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The diocese said wider issues about the demand for places at Catholic schools in Norfolk would require something 'more creative' than 'simply adding more classrooms at the present sites' and was being monitored.


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