County unveils plans for 10 new schools

Banbury Cake: National Union of Teachers representative and teacher Gawain Little National Union of Teachers representative and teacher Gawain Little

EDUCATION chiefs have unveiled a £100m plan to build new schools for 6,500 pupils across Oxfordshire to ease the pressure on places.

The county council is actively seeking sponsors for new academies and free schools to build up to 10 new schools.

And it has set a five-year deadline to get the deals in place. The authority will spend £100m on creating 4,000 primary places and 2,500 secondary places at new schools near housing developments.

The council hopes the vast majority of the funding for the building costs coming from private developers, subject to negotiations.

Cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “They are funded through developer contributions, rather than through us.

“We basically have to say where we feel the new schools need to be, and we’ve been looking at various developments over the years.

“We have to look ahead and forecast how many places we will need and how many schools we will need.”

The county has a serious shortage of primary school places, with particular pinchpoints in Oxford and Abingdon.

This year almost 1,000 of 7,736 children failed to get their first choice of primary school place and 473 did not get any of their three choices. The county council has predicted an increase in primary school-age pupils from 45,800 in 2010 to 2011 to around 50,000 in 2015 to 2016.

The figures are calculated using population growth, the increase in the school-age population, demographic trends related to housing growth, troop movements in and out of the county’s military bases and changes in the pattern of participation in state education.

The sites in the county’s plan include Bankside in Banbury, Heyford Park, Barton, Grove Airfield and Bicester Ecotown.

National Union of Teachers representative Gawain Little, who teaches at St Ebbe’s Primary School in Oxford, said the union was supportive of the council’s main aims.

He said: “Although we’re disappointed that the Government is dictating the type of schools which have to be built, we understand the need for new schools.

“We know there has been a huge growth in the number of children, particularly of primary school age, and obviously we will support the council and work with them.”

In a report to councillors, director of children’s services Jim Leivers said: “In the next five years the authority is likely to have to procure a number of new schools due to planned housing growth.

“The Education Act 2011 determined that all new schools should be academies or free schools unless no provider can be found by the authority or Department for Education.

“The authority has embraced the idea of academies and free schools and seeks to identify the best provision it can for school places in Oxfordshire.”

Oxfordshire County Council ’s cabinet approved plans to seek a sponsor to establish new academies and free schools across the county at a meeting on Tuesday.

Sites being considered:

  • Banbury Bankside – Primary
  • Heyford Park – Primary
  • Bicester Gavray Drive – Primary
  • Bicester Ecotown – Primary x 2
  • Witney – Primary
  • Oxford West End – Primary
  • Oxford Barton – Primary
  • Grove Airfield – Primary and secondary
  • Wantage Crab Hill – Primary
  • Didcot Great Western Park – Primary and secondary

Didcot North East – Primary
Didcot Ladygrove – Primary

Comments (8)

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9:21am Thu 20 Sep 12

Mark L. says...

Strange that none of those schools are near where we live, yet my sons primary school is full and there are plans to build 450 houses near us. They must be expecting child free couple to buy all those houses.
Strange that none of those schools are near where we live, yet my sons primary school is full and there are plans to build 450 houses near us. They must be expecting child free couple to buy all those houses. Mark L.
  • Score: 3

12:58pm Thu 20 Sep 12

King Joke says...

Why so few secondaries? Surely in seven years' time all these primary kids will need to go somewhere? Or does the County see secondary education as a job for the private sector?
Why so few secondaries? Surely in seven years' time all these primary kids will need to go somewhere? Or does the County see secondary education as a job for the private sector? King Joke
  • Score: 0

1:29pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Christine Hovis says...

Two schools for Oxford, when its already a pinchpoint?

The County is abrogating its responsibility for education by pushing this at academies and free schools and expecting developers to put up the schools.
Two schools for Oxford, when its already a pinchpoint? The County is abrogating its responsibility for education by pushing this at academies and free schools and expecting developers to put up the schools. Christine Hovis
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

No compaints from the CPRE*?

These schools are bound to be built on Green belt, or, when there is expansion, on playing fields.

A new primary school on land at Warneford Meadow would probably be useful when homes in East Oxford are returned to family use.


*Campaign to Protect Rural England or Campaign to Protect Retirement Expectations (delete as appropriate).
No compaints from the CPRE*? These schools are bound to be built on Green belt, or, when there is expansion, on playing fields. A new primary school on land at Warneford Meadow would probably be useful when homes in East Oxford are returned to family use. *Campaign to Protect Rural England or Campaign to Protect Retirement Expectations (delete as appropriate). Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

2:50pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Abingdon Neil says...

These new schools will only deal with the need created by new housing developments.

The pressure that already exists in many parts of the County won't be helped at all by this.
These new schools will only deal with the need created by new housing developments. The pressure that already exists in many parts of the County won't be helped at all by this. Abingdon Neil
  • Score: 0

4:02pm Thu 20 Sep 12

WilburTheDog says...

Hanwell Fields - To the North of Banbury, only has one primary school which is already full. Currently there are 900 houses on the estate and yet Cherwell Council are proposing 1,300 more to be added. Councils are run by morons, the kids could do a better job !!
Hanwell Fields - To the North of Banbury, only has one primary school which is already full. Currently there are 900 houses on the estate and yet Cherwell Council are proposing 1,300 more to be added. Councils are run by morons, the kids could do a better job !! WilburTheDog
  • Score: 1

6:48pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Thinkingoutloud says...

Christine Hovis wrote:
Two schools for Oxford, when its already a pinchpoint?

The County is abrogating its responsibility for education by pushing this at academies and free schools and expecting developers to put up the schools.
The county has no choice as Michael Gove has decread that all new schools must be Academys or freeschools. Councils are not allowed to open new schools any more. The developers have to pay for new schools if the housing they build will mean there are lots more children needing a school place. The develoipers do not build the schools but they are required to pay for them
[quote][p][bold]Christine Hovis[/bold] wrote: Two schools for Oxford, when its already a pinchpoint? The County is abrogating its responsibility for education by pushing this at academies and free schools and expecting developers to put up the schools.[/p][/quote]The county has no choice as Michael Gove has decread that all new schools must be Academys or freeschools. Councils are not allowed to open new schools any more. The developers have to pay for new schools if the housing they build will mean there are lots more children needing a school place. The develoipers do not build the schools but they are required to pay for them Thinkingoutloud
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Thinkingoutloud says...

King Joke wrote:
Why so few secondaries? Surely in seven years' time all these primary kids will need to go somewhere? Or does the County see secondary education as a job for the private sector?
Because there are lots of spare places in the secondary schools already
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: Why so few secondaries? Surely in seven years' time all these primary kids will need to go somewhere? Or does the County see secondary education as a job for the private sector?[/p][/quote]Because there are lots of spare places in the secondary schools already Thinkingoutloud
  • Score: -3

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