by Martin Newland SOUTHWARK Archdiocese has been given permission to build a Catholic primary in the Surrey Docks area of London against the wishes of the Inner London Education Authority who wanted the same site for a non denominational school (Catholic Herald, March 3).
Both sides published notices of intention to build on the site earlier this year, and it was left up to the Secretary of State for Education, Kenneth Baker, to decide between them.
"By ILEA's own figures. Catholics represent nearly 20 per cent of the population here," said a delighted Fr John Clark, parish priest of the newly-built Church of Our Lady of the Immaculation Conception situated next to the much-coveted site. "ILEA's own policies indicate that such a proportion warrants at least a one form entry (30 pupils) denominational school".
Fr Clark claims that more and more Catholic families are flooding into the Docklands area, and that the two existing Catholic primary schools are full: "We are a very young parish consisting of many young couples with children. It is imperative for a thriving Catholic community to have access to Catholic primary education."
"Parents expect the Catholic principles that are nurtured in the home to be reflected in the education of their children. They want the same standards of behaviour and morality upheld in the classroom from a very early age," he said.
Christopher Storr of the Southwark Archdiocesan Schools Commission, had made it clear to the parties involved in the dispute for the f1.7 million site that this was the "last chance" that the community would have for a Catholic school in the area since church bodies, unlike education authorities, do not have the power of compulsory purchase.
Building of the one-form entry school is scheduled to begin soon, with a provisional completion date set at March 1990.