Hampton Academies Trust Position Statement – Proposed Catholic Primary School on Hampton East
18 September 2019
We have found ourselves in a difficult position. The decision to agree in principle to open a catholic school on Hampton has come at the expense of a community primary school, which the Hampton Academies Trust had proposed. Therefore, as a trust, we have been faced with the difficult choice of accepting this decision without comment, or to voice our objection. After careful consideration, we have decided to again place our objection on record and in the public domain.
We are not anti-faith or faith schools and work happily and collaboratively with the full range of schools and faith groups within our city. However, we do still believe that this is the wrong choice for this location. The main basis of our objection is detailed below.
The proposed school will not meet basic need
Peterborough and Hampton in particular have been and are expected to remain areas of high population growth. We believe that what is needed is a local strategy to provide sufficient school places for all. A faith school is allowed to admit a high proportion of its pupils on the basis of their religion, meaning it could admit large numbers of pupils from outside of the development. This would mean that in the longer term the school would not deliver sufficient school places to meet the growing local demand.
The proposed site has been provided for the purpose of primary education under a Section 106 Agreement between the developer and Peterborough City Council. The clear intent of the Section 106 Agreement is to provide sufficient school places for families moving into the new housing to the east of the A15. We would argue, therefore, that the provision of a school, able to admit pupils from beyond the immediate area, would not be in the spirit of the Section 106 Agreement.
Adverse impact on families and the environment
Hampton residents have faced challenges in recent years when trying to get their child into a local school. The local Hampton schools are often full with long waiting lists: a situation that local ward councillors are very familiar with and have been actively engaged in rectifying. On many occasions in the past the Hampton Academies Trust has assisted the Local Authority in trying to meet this high local demand: we have accepted bulge classes at Hampton College, opened Hampton College Primary Phase and most recently, we have worked jointly with PCC and the Department for Education to open Hampton Gardens (secondary) and Hampton Lakes Primary School as free schools.
If the plan to open a catholic primary school were to be approved, we could have a situation in future years where children from outside the area are being driven onto Hampton each day, while Hampton children, unable to get a local school place, are driven to other parts of the city.
We encourage all community members to share their views, whatever they may be, during the current consultation.
Please click here to remind you of the alternative bid submitted by Hampton Academies Trust.