Expansion plans at Wolvercote Primary School move a step forward

Jean Fooks

Jean Fooks

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

PLANS to expand Wolvercote Primary School because of a school places crisis have progressed.

The school, in First Turn, is one of a number in Oxford which is struggling to cope with the increasingly large number of children it has to cater for.

Oxfordshire County Council has submitted the planning application which will allow the school to increase its annual intake from 30 pupils to 45 from September.

A consistently large number of pupils apply to attend Wolvercote Primary School, with an average of 36 applicants refused each year.

In a statement, the county council said: “The location of the new building utilises space created by the proposed demolition of the existing nursery building which has come to the end of its life.

“The headteacher and representatives of the governing body have been involved in the development of the scheme design. The scheme drawings have been displayed at the school, and there is local support for the building work to support the expansion of the school.”

But the issue of primary school expansion has proved controversial recently, with concern expressed over the county council’s attempts to find space for extra pupils across Oxford.

Windmill Primary School in Headington objected to the county council’s proposal to increase the number of pupils it takes from 480 to 630 over the next five years.

During the construction period, some classes at Wolvercote will have to be held in temporary buildings until the work is completed by the end of 2015.

Once finished, the new building will include two classrooms, toilets, a cloakroom and an office and it will be constructed out of red brick so that it matches the existing buildings.

County councillor for Wolvercote Jean Fooks said there is a shortage of primary school places in North Oxford.

She said: “New housing, such as at the paper mill site, will only increase the potential school population – and the school is likely to have to expand to full two-form entry, or 60 pupils a year, in the not very distant future.

“So I welcome the additional capacity and hope the new permanent buildings will be ready soon.”

A decision on the planning application will be made by the county council rather than Oxford City Council.

PLACES PRESSURE

  • Schools are under pressure in Oxfordshire because of a huge boost in numbers following a baby boom.
  • Five hundred extra places had to be found in 2012 and Oxfordshire County Council has identified 20 schools to expand by 2018.
  • Schools across the county, including Botley Primary School in West Oxford, have had to expand and put up temporary classrooms to cope with new pupils.
  • In 2012, Britain had the biggest baby boom in 40 years, with 813,200 births in 12 months across the country.

 

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