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Go-ahead for Catholic schools in Richmond

The Diocese of Westminster has been given the go-ahead to open new Catholic schools in Richmond-upon-Thames.

A new Catholic primary and secondary school can now be developed for residents of south-west London, which is short of Catholic schools, after Richmond Council gave its approval at a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

The new co-educational schools are due to open in September 2013, with the primary school beginning with 30 pupils and the secondary with 150, with final capacities of 201 and 1050 respectively.

Both schools will be situated at Clifden Road in Twickenham, on the site currently occupied by Richmond Adult Education College.

The decision represents a major victory for the Church against atheist campaigners who were opposed to the move.

Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, said at a public meeting last year that the Pope’s speech to youngsters in Richmond last year made him realise “how sad it was” they had no Catholic secondary schools in the borough.

Bishop John Sherrington, chairman of the Diocese of Westminster Education Commission, said: “The Diocese of Westminster is delighted with the approval from Richmond Council for the development of a new Catholic Secondary and Primary school at Clifden Road, Twickenham. Working with our partners in the Archdiocese of Southwark, we are grateful to members of the Cabinet for finding a way to deliver on a long-standing manifesto promise to make a Catholic secondary school a reality.

“My thanks also go to the very many people within the Richmond Catholic community and others who have done so much to bring this dream to fruition in order to further the common good.

“We now look forward to working in partnership with the Borough to establish the school at the heart of the community in Twickenham.”