A campaign group opposed to the council’s plans for the Catholic Church to run a new secondary school has launched a petition.

The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign argued that no child should be denied a place because of their parents’ religion or beliefs.

It comes after more than 1,100 people signed a petition earlier this year, calling for Richmond Council to hand control of a new secondary school to the Catholic Church.

The authority then announced last month it would buy a site in Clifden Road, Twickenham, and hoped the church would be able to move in by 2013.

Jeremy Rodell, campaign co-ordinator for the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, urged anyone worried about the policy to sign its e-petition. More than 200 people put their name to it within two days and the council will need to hold a full debate - which would be its second about the issue - if the number reaches 1,000.

Mr Rodell said: “We’ve seen a big increase in support since the council announced they had found the site but were going to give it to the church.

“The council knows the borough needs new secondaries to cope with the huge rise in the number of children now going through the primaries. But their first choice is a school that will be effectively closed to the 90 per cent of borough’s residents who are not Catholics.

“We want to see excellent new borough schools that are equally open to everyone, including children of Catholics.”

The group, which was launched in April, claimed it was not political or anti-religion and had supporters including Catholics, Anglicans, Jews and humanists.

To sign the petition, visit http://tinyurl.com/riscpetition1.

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