Catholic school to become Islamic
Published 25/09/2010 | 05:00
A Catholic primary school in the heart of an Asian community in Lancashire looks set to become the first in the country to convert to an Islamic faith school.
Just a decade ago, Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Blackburn was a flourishing Catholic community, with 91pc of its pupil intake professing the faith. Now that number has dwindled to 3pc.
As a result, the Diocese of Salford -- which is responsible for the running of the school -- has concluded it is no longer "appropriate" for the Catholic Church to remain in charge. Instead, its future is the subject of a consultation with the local mosque, a leading contender to take over the day-to-day running of the school.
Sacred Heart's pupils are largely from ethnic minority groups. In all, around 97pc of its intake is Muslim. Nearby, there is already an established and successful Muslim secondary, the Tauheedul Islam Girls' High School, which caters for 383 pupils and is repeatedly listed in the top 10 non-selective state schools based on its exam performance. It has already expressed an interest in taking over Sacred Heart.
Whether this would mean running it as a Muslim faith school or in partnership with another institution has yet to be determined.
According to a report presented to Blackburn, if Sacred Heart became a Muslim school it would "provide increased diversity . . . and offer a faith school that matches the population of the town". (© Independent News Service)