A NEW 40-space nursery attached to Oxford Academy is close to becoming a reality with work set to begin in September.

Last year plans to erect a new two-storey building on grassy land at the back of the Sandy Lane site were submitted to Oxford City Council.

The project stalled after the initial application was rejected because of the lack of a traffic management plan, but headteacher Niall McWilliams has remained unfazed.

He said: “Even when things go smoothly, it’s a long arduous process. We’ve got to give designated drop-off spaces and make sure we manage the car park.”

A new application will be submitted shortly with the help of Peeple, a Littlemore-based charity supporting parents and carers, babies and children to learn together.

The nursery will be aimed at babies and toddlers from Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill and Littlemore, as well as Oxford Academy teachers’ children.

Mr McWilliams said: “We have got a real belief in the community here and we want to make sure that high-quality education is provided from pre-school all the way up to 16.

“There’s space for it on our side, there’s funding available from the Government and a need for nursery and pre-school education in the area.”

If all goes to plan the project is expected to cost about £500,000, which the school hopes to gain from government capital grant funds.

Mr McWilliams added: “It will be a relatively big nursery area with different rooms, a play area and possibly a community room built onto it at some stage.

“It’s also for the benefit of students as there might be opportunities for some work experience, and if our teachers have little ones they can improve their work-life balance.”

Peeple, which began in Littlemore and is now a national charity, will run the site with up to eight new staff. Babies and youngsters aged one to three will be catered for.

Chief executive Sally Smith said: “We see this as a resource for the community. There’s a shortage of schoolchildren who can get a funded place.

“There are real benefits to having a nursery in the school. It will make it seem a friendly place and make families feel welcome.

“The school is working on a traffic management plan. Most will be within buggy-pushing distance so we don’t anticipate too many more cars.”

Find out more about the plans at peeple.org.uk