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Launch of the First new Catholic Academy Trust within the Diocese of Westminster

As the new season of Spring 2019 heralds change and renewal the message from four schools in Harrow is also about change as they become academies. In line with the approval of and direction from the Trustees of the Diocese of Westminster St. John Fisher Catholic Primary School, St George’s Catholic Primary School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and The Sacred Heart Language College are joining together to form the Blessed Holy Family Catholic Academy Trust. Their governors have agreed that by coming together they can protect, secure and develop the Church’s mission in education.

Some academy trusts are in the process of being extended across the Diocese but the creation of the Blessed Holy Family Trust is the first to evolve in response to the diocesan wish to create local families of schools. On the 1st May Bishop John Wilson, Chair of the Education Commission, in his address to pupils, parents, staff and governors from the four schools at their Mass of celebration called this a ‘momentous occasion’, describing the creation of the Trust as a work of love to strengthen and secure Catholic education.

He was joined in concelebrating Mass by Father Frank Waters and Father Paul Harris from St Joseph’s Church, Wealdstone who have been great supporters of the work of Catholic education locally. The move is in line with Diocesan strategy and policy approved in 2016 heralding the move to academisation across its schools. JP Morrison, Director for Education at Westminster said: ‘I am delighted that the Catholic Family of Schools in Harrow have finally established a new Catholic Academy Trust. This is an exciting opportunity for our schools do more with each other and for each other. It will continue to ensure that Catholic education in Harrow develops further partnerships and benefits for staff and pupils alike. My sincere thanks to all those who have made this happen as it is the result of a lot of hard work by key individuals over the last few years. I wish them all every success for the future.’

James Coyle, the Chair of the newly formed Trust spoke about the commitment of the governing bodies to make a difference to the families we serve in our local community and their willingness to come together for the good of Catholic education. In Harrow the move marks a significant move towards realising the Trust’s vision to present to the Catholic community a joined-up offer of education for their children from nursery to pre-university.

Geraldine Higgins, as the new CEO of the Trust, spoke on behalf of the Headteachers, about how fitting it is that the Trust is named the Blessed Holy Family because that is what they are striving to emulate; a family of schools with love, service and faith at its heart.  She said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity.  As a group of Headteachers we are excited by the chance to create something new and special that will have a direct impact on the success of our pupils today and for future generations in the foundations that we build.’

The Headteachers collaborating within the Trust are Deirdre Monaghan at St George’s, Maria Conlon at St John Fisher, Christopher Briggs at St Joseph’s and Geraldine Higgins at The Sacred Heart.

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