WebbA £2M scheme to relocate an Oxford Catholic primary school has moved a step closer.
Consultation has begun on the plan to move Our Lady’s Primary School in Oxford Road, Cowley, to a vacant site next to St Gregory the Great School in Cricket Road.
Under the plans, Our Lady’s would expand to take 60 children each year, 15 more than the current intake.
Headteacher Hilary Webb said: “The site we have occupied for the last 80 years is wonderful, but it is very tight and we have very little space.
“The main incentive is to give us potential to grow physically and to become a larger school – we cannot do that on this site.”
Proposals were announced at the beginning of this year after a vacant site next door to St Gregory the Great School became available.
While it would normally be the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham’s responsibility to pay for such a move, pressure on school places in Oxford is such that cash would also be available from Oxfordshire County Council to bring the buildings up to scratch.
The move could take place as soon as September 2013, but Mrs Webb said it was not yet known if the school’s catchment area would change. Being located next door to St Gregory’s would offer opportunities to share some facilities and resources with the secondary.
The building earmarked for the relocated school has previously been used as a school in the 1970s, and is likely to need substantial renovation after suffering water damage.
Mrs Webb said: “We don’t yet have answers to all the questions that are going to be asked. That is why we are consulting.”
Parents at the school gates had mixed views about the move.
Catherine Willis, from Littlemore, who has a seven-year-old child at the school and a four-year-old due to start there in September, said: “I’m not bothered either way. To me it has its pros and cons.”
Lisa Pagano, from Iffley, who has two children at Our Lady’s and one at St Gregory’s, said: “Parking down that road is an absolute nightmare.
“Apart from that, it probably is a good thing because the children get used to being near St Gregory’s.”
Saj Malik, who represents the area on the county council, said: “We would welcome the move but at the same time the school has to work with the parents to make them aware of their parental duties.
“There are issues already with the access which can be quite chaotic and it will not help to have more children on site.”
A meeting will be held at the school on Tuesday at 6pm and consultation will end on Friday, June 1.
To respond to the consultation visit our-ladys.oxon.sch.uk County council education chief Melinda Tilley will decide whether to approve plans by Eynsham Primary School and Orchard Meadow Primary School in Oxford to expand.
She will make the decision at her delegated decisions meeting on Monday at noon.