No new faith school in Hampton Water

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.

The decision came down to Peterborough Council, who had two options:

  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.

Unfortunately, they opted for the first. 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.

Update 24 November 2020: Despite despite concerns over their decision making process and strong public opposition, the Council rejected a challenge of their support of the proposed faith school, in February 2020. The proposal is currently moving forward, but local opposition is growing as more residents move into the Hampton Water Development only to find out they may not be welcome at their local school. We remain hopeful that the decision will be overturned and that an inclusive community-ethos alternative will be introduced.

Update 15 January 2021

The school (now named St John Henry Newman) has launched a consultation on their admissions arrangements. This will run until 19 February 2021. There is also an ongoing e-Petition on the Peterborough City Council website, aiming for 500 signatures to secure a debate.

"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.

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