Richmond Borough greets new Catholic secondary school
By Teddington People | Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 22:09
The first Catholic school to be launched in London for the past decade opened its gates in Twickenham last Thursday for an opening ceremony attended by nearly a thousand people.
The decision to introduce St Richard Reynolds Catholic College, which will accept pupils from across West London, attracted much criticism from secular groups and ended up in the High Court. However, Thursday's opening was welcomed by Catholic families across the borough.
The outdoor opening ceremony was held in the college grounds in a mass that was attended by Vincent Nichols, The Archbishop of Westminster, Peter Smith, The Archbishop of Southwark, and George Stack, The Archbishop of Cardiff.
Speaking about the ceremony, Melanie Mansfield, whose son will attend the school said: “Our son is so excited about joining St Richard Reynolds reception school, I think it is fantastic that the school and friends of the school have come to gather as a community so early on to organise such a joyful remember day as the celebration mass.”
The school, based at Clifden Road, can currently provide for up to 150 Year 7 children with a further 150 being added each year until it reaches full capacity of 1,050 including 300 in the sixth form. The primary school starts out with 30 reception children with a further 30 being added each year until its full capacity of 210 is reached.
Principal, Richard Burke, said: "It has been a privilege being part of the movement that has brought St Richard Reynolds Catholic College into existence. Welcoming our year 7 'pioneers' last week as the College's first cohort was historic, emotional and heart warming. It would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of so many people. In particular, I am grateful for the sterling work that the initial College staff team has done to get the College fit for purpose. Their behaviours have made it clear that St Richard Reynolds will be a place where our young people will come first, be loved, listened to, challenged and inspired."
Andrew Cole, Chairman of the Governing Body, added: “The establishment of a maintained Catholic secondary school in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is the fulfilment of the tireless campaign by the local Catholic community and others. St Richard Reynolds is a partnership between the Diocese of Westminster and the local authority; it is part of the family of schools in Richmond-upon-Thames and it will add greater diversity and choice for parents in the Borough."