Does town need a faith secondary?

Towcester C of E Primary School.
Towcester C of E Primary School.

A DEBATE on whether parents in the area should have the option of sending their child to a Church of England secondary school was made public this week.

After the Persimmon and Bloor Homes plan to double the size of Towcester re-emerged this year, education chiefs started to talk about what would happen to the site the developers have set aside for a new secondary school.

Two factions have now emerged with Sponne School and Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary on one side, and Towcester CofE Primary and the Peterborough Diocese Board of Education on the other.

Sponne and Nicholas Hawksmoor have formed the Towcester Learning Trust, and along with businesses, local government, and community groups, have formed a plan to create an education campus which could also be utilised by the wider community.

Towcester CofE and the diocese have formulated a plan to create a CofE secondary on the site, which the Towcester Masterplan places on the southern outskirts of the town.

Governors and headteachers from the schools spoke at Towcester Town Council’s meeting on Monday evening about their desire to work together more closely.

Speaking during a public session of the meeting, Sue Hamilton, of Wordsworth Close, said she would not favour the option of having two secondary schools in Towcester. She said: “I wouldn’t want a them and us situation. I think the sense of community which comes from one secondary school is one of Towcester’s strengths.”

Paul Cartwright, chairman of Towcester Primary’s board of governors said initial discussions had assumed Sponne would take over the new site, but as most primary feeder schools in the area were faith schools he said it was right to offer parents a second option. Mr Cartwright said south Northants was currently the only area in the diocese not served by a faith secondary school.

Drisc Wardle, chairman of the Nicholas Hawksmoor board of governors, said: “What we want to make sure is that we come up with a scheme that helps all the children of Towcester and not just a proportion.”

> What do you think? Does the town need a faith secondary? Get in touch, our contact details are on page 6.