Pre-school in need of a home

Oxford Mail: Supervisor Maria O’Connor, right, and Terry Keen with some of the children at Our Lady’s Pre-School Buy this photo » Supervisor Maria O’Connor, right, and Terry Keen with some of the children at Our Lady’s Pre-School

A POPULAR Oxford pre-school could be forced to close if plans to relocate its host primary school go ahead.

Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School, in Oxford Road, Cowley, is consulting on proposals to move to a site in Cricket Road, next door to Catholic secondary St Gregory the Great School.

But it has emerged the proposed move does not include Our Lady’s Pre-school, which rents a room at the primary but operates independently.

Nursery supervisor Maria O’Connor said: “I can understand why they need to move, but for us it means we will close down.

“At the consultation meeting I asked what happens to education for three to four-year-olds and the answer was they didn’t know.

“It is a massive concern for my staff and the parents, so the feeling is panic.”

The pre-school has 48 children on roll and a waiting list of 150. All places are fully funded.

About half the pupils attending the pre-school are Catholic, and 60 to 70 per cent go on to the primary.

Mrs O’Connor said: “They have advised me to start looking for new premises.

“I do totally understand they need to move because the school isn’t big enough but, considering they are moving to bigger premises, “I am a bit upset we cannot move with them.”

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The consultation goes on until Friday, June 1, with governors to take a decision on whether to proceed soon afterwards. A date has not been set for the move but it could be as soon as September 2013.

Mrs O’Connor said she was collecting consultation responses from parents and so far all had said they did not want to move.

She appealed for anyone who could suggest a new home for the pre-school to come forward.

She said: “Everything in our pre-school we have paid for.

“We just rent the room but all the equipment and fittings are ours, so we have got everything ready to set up.

“If there was a classroom somewhere that would be ideal for us, but every time I speak to someone they say you don’t know if it’s moving yet, which makes things difficult.”

No-one from Our Lady’s Primary School was available for comment.

The pre-school can be contacted on 01865 749629.

Comments (1)

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10:33pm Fri 18 May 12

Jo Cowley says...

Why would the move involve an indepently run pre school that is run as a business?
The school educates children from 5-11, it has no responsibility for 3 & 4 year olds.
As you say no decision has been made whether the school will move or not from it'scurrent site.as the pre school is run independently of the school, has the school considered expanding into the pre school area?, allowing the pre school to move to new premises and giving the school more space it obviously desperately needs, as admitted by Mrs O'Connor.
Pupils do not gain automatic entry to the school just because they attend the pre school.
As far as I am aware the consultation is about the move of Our Lady's school and not the preschool. Providing the space and meeting the Education of our children in school must take priority over a business, which can relocate to alternative premises.
As a parent of a pre school child I would rather the school had more space for my child for seven years in the school should it syat on it's current site.
Why would the move involve an indepently run pre school that is run as a business? The school educates children from 5-11, it has no responsibility for 3 & 4 year olds. As you say no decision has been made whether the school will move or not from it'scurrent site.as the pre school is run independently of the school, has the school considered expanding into the pre school area?, allowing the pre school to move to new premises and giving the school more space it obviously desperately needs, as admitted by Mrs O'Connor. Pupils do not gain automatic entry to the school just because they attend the pre school. As far as I am aware the consultation is about the move of Our Lady's school and not the preschool. Providing the space and meeting the Education of our children in school must take priority over a business, which can relocate to alternative premises. As a parent of a pre school child I would rather the school had more space for my child for seven years in the school should it syat on it's current site. Jo Cowley

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