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Three-site super school bid for big new housing estate
NEW school places on a Didcot housing estate could be created for four- to 16-year-olds at one super-school across three different sites.
A tender process to find a group to run schools on the town’s new Great Western Park estate ends today, with a decision being made by the county council’s cabinet.
An estimated 9,000 new homes are set to be built on the estate by 2026, creating a need for up to 4,000 school places.
Surrey-based Glyn Learning Foundation (GLF), is the preferred bidder, but wants places be created in an unusual way.
Instead of building two primary schools and a secondary, it wants one school for all ages across three sites.
The foundation already runs an outstanding-rated boys’ school and four primary schools in Surrey.
GLF is one of four bodies shortlisted.
Didcot Ladygrove county councillor Nick Hards said: “They [GLF] started out as a trust running an outstanding secondary school and since then they have taken on primary schools, and as far as I can see they are doing it well.
“If an organisation is running two different things well elsewhere, the chances are they will do the same here.”
He said he has yet to make up his mind on whether to support plans to let GLF run all three sites, or whether to split the tender between GLF and GEMS Learning Trust, another shortlisted bidder.
In a report, children’s services director Jim Leivers said of GLF’s bid: “The panel considered this would be an innovative approach and was convinced that the provider has the experience and expertise to deliver high quality places.
“The panel recognised that by having both primary schools this would provide a larger number of primary children with a seamless transition into secondary school.”
The council’s blueprint for school places in Didcot states that two primary schools and one secondary school should be created.
Some 14- to 19-year-old students would be taken in by the new University Technical College.
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