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Bishop Alan blesses School site

The site for the new St John Henry Newman Catholic primary school in Peterborough was blessed by Bishop Alan Hopes on Tuesday (March 8) in front of civic, education and diocesan guests.

It marks the latest stage in the building of the school, which will open on schedule for around 60 Reception and Year 1 and 2 pupils in September. It is especially significant as it is the first new Catholic school to be built in the whole country for more than ten years.

The school is the first one in Peterborough to be built off-site, by contractors Eco Modular Buildings in Hull, and then transported to Peterborough. The full school structure, comprising 109 modular sections, is now in place and work is continuing on the internal and external finishes. It is an all-electric building built in line with the latest eco standards.

Chair of governors, Flavio Vettese, speaking on behalf of headteacher Mark Cooper who was unable to be present, said: “The opening of St John Henry Newman is a fantastic opportunity to grow Catholic education in Peterborough and one of which I am extremely excited and proud to lead.

“This joint DFE, Local Authority, and diocesan project will provide the city of Peterborough and the Hampton community with a state-of-the-art eco school building and I will strive to ensure that we offer a curriculum and educational journey that matches.”

Before walking around the site and blessing it with consecrated water, the Bishop of East Anglia, the Rt Rev Alan Hopes, told guests: “This is a very important moment in the life of the Diocese of East Anglia. The blessing of the site of our new school here in Hampton marks a significant step towards its opening in September.

“The saint, under whose protection and prayers we will place our school students and staff is John Henry Newman. He was someone who was dedicated to the work of education. He was the first English person, who was not a martyr, to be made a saint since medieval times. We thought it appropriate that our new school should bear his name.

“I would particularly like to thank Helen Bates, one of our assistant education directors, for the many hours of committed hard work and unfailing patience with everyone to make this project a reality.”

Peterborough City councillor, Ray Bisby, said: “The council is very excited to see the building installed at the Hampton Waters site as the culmination of all the work that the Diocese of East Anglia, the council, the DFE and the contractor have done to get the project to this stage.

“This new facility will provide a fantastic environment for children. It will be run as an all-electric building, supporting the council’s strategic priority to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. We look forward to the successful delivery of this school build project and its opening to the first cohort of children in September.”

Guests at the blessing included Mayor of Peterborough, cllr Stephen Ward, city Catholic head teachers and priests, ecumenical representatives, education staff and Canon Andrew Read, Diocesan Director of Education in the Anglican Diocese of Ely.

Mark Cooper sent a message which said: “We are ready to welcome 60 children in September in Reception and Years 1 and 2 and the application window for the Years 1 and 2 cohort opens very soon on the local authority admissions portal.

“The recruitment process for our teaching teams will begin very soon with adverts published within the next week.”