ROMAN Catholic bosses are set to pull out of running a Blackburn primary school because the number of pupils baptised in the religion has dwindled to just three per cent.

Since 2000, a ‘substantial increase’ of Asian heritage families have moved into the catchment area of Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Lynwood Road.

This has resulted in 95 per cent of the school’s pupils coming from non-Roman Catholic backgrounds, an increase from seven per cent in 2000.

A council report said: “The view of the Roman Catholic Diocese is that, given the demographic changes, they do not feel that a Roman Catholic primary school in this location is the appropriate type of education provision.”

The diocese has applied to Blackburn with Darwen Council to close the school ending its involvement.

It would reopen as a voluntary-aided school under council control, possibly as an Islamic or Church of England school.

It is the first time that Blackburn with Darwen Council has had to deal with the closure of a Roman Catholic school in the borough, but the process has been undertaken in other local authorities.

The report said: “Following the departure of the last permanent headteacher at the school the Diocese has advertised and been unable to recruit a new permanent headteacher.

“Demand for school places is high and there is a lack of alternative school places for families residing in this area of the borough.

“The key consideration for the Diocese of Salford and the local authority is the removal of the religious character of the school to enable a primary school to be provided that is representative of the local community.”

Harry Devonport, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s director of universal, targeted and learning services, said: “This is merely a technical change which will involve the same staff.

“There will be no disruption for our children at this school.

"We will issue letters to parents to explain the process.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council will discuss the proposals at Thursday’s executive board meeting in Blackburn Town Hall at 6pm.