What's happening?

The growing community of Hampton Water in east Peterborough need a new school. An inclusive new academy has been proposed, but the council are instead considering opening a new Catholic faith school. We're supporting residents to oppose this.

To cut a long story short, since 2016 the government has been looking for ways to allow new faith schools to open which can select up to 100% of their pupils based on religion. They originally planned to allow dozens of new academies and was instead forced to opt for voluntary aided schools. Due to more opposition, out of fourteen proposals the Catholic School on the Hampton Water site is the only one currently moving forward.

This decision now comes down to Peterborough City Council. They have two choices:

  1. Approve the faith school which will be able to select up to 100% of its pupils and teachers based on religion and teach denominational religious education.
  2. Reject the proposal so alternative proposals for an inclusive new school on the site might move forward.

Our briefing clearly sets out why this proposal should not be approved.

  1. In the first year up to 80% of places may be subject to religious discrimination in admissions, meaning it won't serve all local families. This may rise to 100% in future years.
  2. There is a clear well-established alternative proposal for a community ethos academy which will be free from religious discrimination.
  3. The school will be able to religiously discriminate against/in favour of all teachers.
  4. Religious education and RSE will be taught from a religious perspective.
  5. All the capital funding is coming from public sources (90% from the DfE and 10% from a Section 106 agreement with the council) but the Diocese will own the school. All running costs will be paid by taxpayers.

Both the Diocese and the No More Faith Schools campaign have organised public meetings. Unfortunately, the city council have so far refused to organise their own public meeting.

"At a Catholic school, Catholic doctrine and practice permeate every aspect of the school's activity. It is essential that the Catholic character of the school's education be fully supported by all families in the school. We therefore hope that all parents will give their full, unreserved and positive support for the aims and ethos of the school." - Final proposal document

Who are we?

No More Faith Schools is a national campaign coordinated by the National Secular Society and with supporters from a broad social, political and religious spectrum. We're dedicated to an end to state funded faith schools. We would like all schools to have an inclusive community ethos, free from any religious discrimination, privilege or control.

We help people challenge new faith schools, particularly where they have discriminatory admissions rules and where there are proposals for inclusive alternatives.

When do you get a say?

On Thursday 21 November 2019 the final proposal was published this started the four week "representation period" run by the Council where any person can send objections or comments. This is the consultation that matters.

To take part in the consultation email consultations@peterborough.gov.uk by 19 December. Use the subject line "Response to Proposed New Catholic Primary School".

We have a real chance to stop this divisive proposal and end up with an inclusive, non-discriminatory school which serves the whole community. But we need to get ready. Ahead of the consultation we are asking local supporters, parents and residents to sign the petition below and sign up to the mailing list.

If you can provide as much information as possible in the comments section it will help us document local concerns. If you'd prefer, you can send this in an email. We hope to see you at a public meeting on Thursday 28 November at the Friends' Meeting House, details below.

Petitions

There are two current petitions, and we strongly encourage Peterborough residents to sign both. The petition below run by the NMFS campaign will help strengthen our consultation response. A new petition has also been started on the council website. If this gets 500 signatures there will be an opportunity for it to be debated by the full council.

We want an inclusive school for Hampton Water, not a faith school

Calling on Peterborough City Council to reject proposals for an exclusive new Catholic faith school in Hampton Water, and to support established alternative proposals for a new school which serves the whole community.

We want an inclusive school for Hampton Water, not a faith school

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