Construction begins on new Roman Catholic Primary school in Peterborough

Construction has begun on a new Roman Catholic Primary School in Peterborough.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 4:59 am
An artist's impression of St John Henry Newman School.

Work on the new St John Henry Newman Roman Catholic Primary School and Nursery in Aqua Drive, Hampton Water began this month ahead of the school’s opening in September 2022.

The first stage was for staff from Eco Modular Buildings (EMB) to begin work on the ground works and preparing the foundation.

As part of the Peterborough City Council’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, the school is being built in a unique and modern way.

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The school will be built off-site at EMB’s Lean Manufacturing Facility in Hull, with modules then transported to site in phases for installation and assembly, providing a watertight superstructure within a matter of weeks.

Modular build schools are becoming more commonplace across the UK, with these methods driven by the government’s Department for Education, through their MMC 1 Framework which is available to use by Local Authorities and Academy Trusts.

A Modular delivery approach has many benefits including decreased waste, a reduced site period and reduced site traffic ensuring less disruption for local residents.

The school will cater for 630 pupils, with a further 26 nursery places on offer and will be run by the Diocese of East Anglia.

The school has, however, received opposition from a number of parents in regards to its admission policy, in which 80 percent of the places will be given out on religious grounds.

The remaining 20 percent will be given out based on the applicant’s proximity to the school. This “open places” policy will be in place for September and will be reviewed each year by the governing body.

This has raised fears that local children may miss out on places but that school has said that any local child wanting a place is expected to get one.

The Diocese has organised two information events in Peterborough for parents thinking about sending their children to St John Henry Newman School. These will be held:

- Monday November 1, 2-4pm at St Lukes Church, Benyon Grove

- Thursday November 25, 6-8pm at Hampton Vale Community Centre, Stewartby Avenue, Hampton Vale

Speaking about the build, Simon Rawson, Eco Modular Buildings Ltd, Founder and CEO, said: “The whole team at Eco were delighted to be awarded St John Henry Newman Catholic Primary School on behalf of Peterborough City Council, which we understand is Peterborough City Council’s first scheme commissioned using modern methods of construction.

“This is an exciting project which we have been working collaboratively with Peterborough City Council, The Diocese of East Anglia and the Department for Education over the course of 2020/21, it’s exciting to be moving into the construction phase and we very much look forward to handing over a beautiful school ready for the first intake in September 2022, we’re certain the school will be enjoyed by young learners for many years to come.”

Helen Bates from the Diocese of East Anglia said “As the first brand new Catholic school to be built in the country for more than 10 years, this is an important and exciting project for Catholic education nationally. St John Henry Newman will be a Catholic school serving its local community and we very much look forward to welcoming all children to our new school in September 2022”

Councillor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and the university, added: “Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and we expect this trend to continue, so finding new school places is an urgent and ongoing challenge.

“This is a unique project and it’s fantastic to see construction underway. We’re all looking forward to the school opening its doors to pupils next year. It is going to be a huge asset not just for Hampton, but for Peterborough as a whole, for years to come.”

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