Educational partnership blessed by the Bishop of Oxford

Alastair Hunter, Kathy Winrow, the Bishop of Oxford and Sister Stella

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Steven Croft has today (Thursday 25 May) blessed a new partnership between the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV) at Wantage and the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST). At a ceremony in CSMV’s St Mary Magdalene Chapel, representatives of the two organisations signed a commitment to co-operate in supporting education in the Diocese of Oxford.

The covenant will offer ODST an additional office, meeting and conference space at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage. The alliance will bring back into use a wing of the building, as part of the Community’s charitable aims of supporting the education of children. The Sisters of CSMV have made a significant contribution to education since the Community’s founding over 150 years ago.

Bishop Steven, making his first visit to the Community was present at the signing.

“The Sisters are delighted to be able to offer accommodation to ODST’s staff,” says Sister Stella, Sister in Charge of the Community. “Their presence and their work help underline the importance of high quality education for all in our society, something the Community has worked for throughout its long history.”

Speaking on behalf of ODST, Chair of Trustees Kathy Winrow said: “This additional new space marks an innovative partnership between ODST and St Mary’s Convent. Our hope is that it will become a centre of excellence not only for our dedicated staff but for for training and events that will attract teachers and governors to CSMV.”

A new reception area forms part of the plans for the future of St Mary’s Convent. A planning application for this exciting development will be made later in the year.

This is the latest in a series of developments underlining the CSMV continuing commitment to Wantage. Last year the Sisters took the decision to stay at the Convent. The partnership with OSDT follows the recent announcement that later this year the Vale Academy Trust’s central staff team is to move into office space on the convent site from its current base at King Alfred’s Academy.

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