|Facing closure: The Sacred Heart Roman Catholic primary may be run by a mosque after the number of pupils following the Christian faith plummeted|
Blackburn, Lancashire, Daily Mail - A Roman Catholic primary school could become the first in the country to be run by a mosque after a dramatic rise in the number of Muslim pupils, it emerged today
Church bosses want to close Sacred Heart RC Primary School, in Blackburn, Lancashire, because the number of Catholic students has plummeted from 91 per cent to just three per cent in a decade.
In what would be the first case of its kind in Britain, the primary would be handed over to another organisation to run - most likely the local Tauheedul mosque - and re-opened with a new name.
Around 95 per cent of the school's 200 pupils are of Asian origin. Many do not speak English as their first language and the majority follow the Islamic faith.
The Diocese of Salford has told Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council that it no longer believes it is “appropriate” for the church to be in charge.
According to a report presented to the council's executive, the school, which sits in a predominantly Asian populated area of the town, has been struggling to recruit a permanent headteacher because of rules imposed by the church that the head must follow the Catholic faith.
The board of governors also made a decision to resign en masse because they believed they were not an accurate reflection of the local community.
Geraldine Bradbury, director of education at the Diocese, said population shifts meant there were only “five or six” Catholic pupils left at the school.
'We have never experienced a change to this extent before,' she said. 'We want to make sure that the educational needs of the community are met.
'We would not be serving the local community by insisting that we run the school. It brings things like having a Catholic headteacher and devoting 10 per cent of the timetable to RE. It would be very wrong of us to insist on putting a school community through that.'
Read more: Daily Mail.co.uk