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At least eight Catholic schools are set to become academies under Brentwood Diocese's plans

PUBLISHED: 14:57 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:57 09 November 2018

Parents gather in protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, in Chesnut Drive, on Tuesday, October 30. Photo: Paul Donovan

Parents gather in protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, in Chesnut Drive, on Tuesday, October 30. Photo: Paul Donovan

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The Diocese of Brentwood has announced plans to academise all Roman Catholic schools in Havering.

Bishop of Brentwood Alan Williams announced in a letter that he had “initiated the expansion and development of Catholic, deanery-based multi-academy trusts (Catholic MATs) across the diocese”.

This process has “already begun” and will take about three years to complete, he said.

This would mean that Catholic schools in the diocese - which includes the boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Redbridge, Walthamstow Forest as well as Essex - will come under the control of a Catholic MAT.

As academies, the schools would become independent of the council and receive funding directly from the Department of Education.

Schools in Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham are set to come under the control of the Good Shepherd Catholic Trust, which already oversees two schools in Ilford.

Three further MATs will be set up to oversee schools across Havering, Waltham Forest and Newham.

Among the numerous reasons cited for the change is that “the direct funding of academies has reduced the capacity of local authorities” to support schools.

Bishop Williams also writes that a MAT would help “enable a new spirit of collaboration” among Catholic schools.

Eleven schools come under the Diocese of Brentwood’s Havering Deanery – of which at least eight are presently local authority schools.

These are:

St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, in Dorset Avenue, Romford

La Salette Catholic Primary School, in Dunedin Road, Rainham

St Alban’s Catholic Primary School, in Heron Flight Avenue, Hornchurch

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, Lowshoe Lane, Collier Row

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, St Mary’s Lane, Upminster

Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School, St Mary’s Lane, Upminster

St Ursula’s Roman Catholic Junior School and Infant School, in Straight Road, Harold Hill

In neighbouring Redbridge, parents at Our Lady of Lourdes School, in Chestnut Drive, Wanstead, staged a protest outside their school on Wednesday, October 31.

The school has now arranged a meeting with representatives from Brentwood Diocese on November 15 to present the plans in greater detail to parents.

Havering Council did not wish to offer a comment on the story.

The Diocese of Brentwood has been approached for comment.

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