Multi-faith primary for Liverpool RC site
BY ANDREW M BRou's A CATHOLIC PRIMARY School in Liverpool may be turned into a unique state school, celebrating the range of faiths and ethnic groups in the culturally diverse Granby area of the city, if a consultation document backed by the City Council and Liverpool Hope University is acted on.
The Archdiocese has made available to the Local Education Authority the site of St Bernard's Catholic school, Toxteth, which is closing because of falling rolls.
Governors, parents and staff are now considering an amalgamation of three primary schools St Bernard's, Granby and Tiber Street because some classrooms are currently halfempty.
The new school, which the Council says would be "unique and newly-built", but on the site of the present St Bernard's School, would have a majority of Muslim pupils, owing to the large
number of Somali immigrants in the area. Although Liverpool Church authorities are not involved, the Liverpool Muslim Society has asked the local Catholic parish priest, Fr Peter Morgan, of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernard, to join discussions. Fr Morgan told the Catholic Herald this week that he felt "privileged" to be involved.
"The unique element in the proposal is that a school is extablished, largely Muslim in character, which is open to receive other children and respond to their needs," Fr Morgan said. "It's because of the good relationship Muslims in Liverpool have with other faiths that this can Come about."
Councillor Neville Bann, chairman of the Education Committee, called the proposal "exciting" and said it would recognise and celebrate the cultural diversity of the Granby area. He added: "You can call it 'multi-faith' the proposal is to have Christian representation on the governing body. It also
addresses the problem of empty classrooms which we are legally bound to tackle and would give the people of Granby the modern, high quality learning facilities they deserve."
Councillor Bann emphasised, however, that the proposal was still at consultation stage and "we will be seeking the views of all interested parties before any final decision is made". Representatives from the Liverpool Muslim Society, the Christian community, people in Granby, City of Liverpool Community College and Liverpool Hope university College are considering the proposals.
Fr Morgan said the proposals should succeed "because of the close relationship we share with people of other faiths in our area." Although "the majority" of children at the school would be Muslim, "it is great that special care will be taken for those of other faiths and cultures. This is an initiative that the people of Liverpool should be very proud of."