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Change of routine for Olympic torch's visit
It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Olympic Torch pass through Oxfordshire.
But it potentially means disruption to schools and businesses on July 9 and 10 as the rolling road closure programme affects pick-up times and the morning and afternoon rush-hours.
Some schools are closing early and taking pupils to see the torch go by, while companies are reportedly allowing some employees to work from home so they can witness the historic moment.
Kings Meadow Primary School in Bicester will be shutting at 1.30pm on July 9.
Headteacher Tony Instone said: “For a small school it might be possible to take 60 children down to see the relay and supervise them safely, but for a larger school that’s not possible.
“A number of schools in Bicester are closing for the afternoon to allow parents to collect their children and watch the relay because it is a wonderful opportunity.”
In Woodstock, The Marlborough School will close at 1pm.
Headteacher Julie Fenn said in a letter to parents: “The rolling road closure programme will make it impossible for the school to transport pupils away from the school site at 3.05pm on that day.
“We regret the loss of two lessons of teaching time on that afternoon, but we are also aware that many parents may welcome the opportunity for local young people to watch this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.”
Kirtlington Primary School will close early while children from Woodstock Primary School will travel together to Blenheim Palace to watch the procession.
At Larkrise Primary School, East Oxford, where headteacher Mark Chesterton has been selected to carry the torch in Henley, the procession will pass nearby long before the school opens.
But they are planning to make the most of the day, shifting their annual sports day to the famous Iffley Road athletics track.
Mr Chesterton said he planned to use the event to gather children’s enthusiasm for the Olympics and added: “It’s like pushing a stone down the hill, it gathers momentum.”
Rush Common Primary School, Abingdon, will open as usual, with the procession due to go through the town at 7.40am on July 10.
Headteacher Maxine Evans said: “We have taken the stance that school will be open and staffed as normal but we have a suspicion there may be an element of our pupil numbers arriving late.”
BMW spokesman Rebecca Baxter said the plant was considering whether any changes were needed to shift patterns.
Nigel Wild, president of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce said: “If companies are taking a relaxed attitude and saying work from home if you can’t get to work, I would have thought that was a good thing.
“This is a great event for the community and we should take the chance to celebrate.”