A COWLEY primary school has unveiled plans for a massive £1.7m expansion to help it cope with a surge in pupil numbers.

St Christopher’s C of E Primary School in Temple Road has announced the scheme as part of a raft of expansion plans for city schools.

City schools have moved to expand after the number of under-fours in the city surged by 40 per cent since 2001.

The plan would add a kitchen to the hall for the first time and create a standalone building of four classrooms.

It was last year given permission to increase its admission number from one class of 45 to two of 60, boosting pupils from 315 to 420.

Headteacher Alison Holden said: “We are so short of additional space in this school, we have nowhere to take the children for some classes.”

New housing and a rising birth rate had put pressure on places at the school, where extra pupils have been taken on since 2009, she said.

“We are really looking forward to it. We are going to be living on a building site but we know the end result will be worth waiting for.”

And she said the school has retained its sense of togetherness despite its growing size.

She said: “It is still a wonderful, wonderful place to be. It is a vibrant, happy place for children to learn.”

Oxfordshire County Council will make a final decision on the plan, to be funded from its £34m “basic need” budget. Its education department is funding the scheme as part of moves to expand city primaries.

Cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “We are pleased about it because we want them to go to two-form entry.”

Schools in Cutteslowe, Rose Hill, Botley and Wolvercote are among the schools which have won permission to expand.

Orchard Meadow, in Blackbird Leys, will take 60 from September next year.

The new classrooms would go to the north of two temporary classrooms, which would be removed.

An extra five parking spaces would be provided along with two play areas to make up for the loss of space from the new works. It will include footpaths, barriers and a pedestrian gate at the access road for Temple Cowley Pools.


HEADTEACHER Alison Holden said grub will be “even better” when the school finally gets its own kitchen.

She said: “It means that when we are cooking for 150 children, if we run out of food we can get some quickly. If you run out it is heartbreaking for those children.”

Youngsters currently get their meals bussed in from Orchard Meadow Primary School, 1.8 miles away in Wesley Close.

There was controversy when the county’s school meals service was outsourced this year. The new service – by Carillion Plc – began in September taking over from the county council’s in-house Food With Thought service.

This cut meal prices from £2.10 to £2 though the firm pledged to maintain nutritional standards.

About 12,500 pupils get meals a day.