A Didcot primary school is now being considered for a road safety scheme after public pressure forced the county council to rethink its decision.

Manor Primary School staff and governors had expressed dismay at not being included in the second phase of the School Streets Scheme.

Didcot West county councillor Ian Snowdon also criticised the school not being included in the project. 

The scheme results in the temporary closure of roads during school pick up and drop off times.

After repeatedly contacting the council for an explanation as to why the school missed out, council officers then accused the school of failing to enter into communications with them – an accusation both parties vehemently refuted.

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Mr Snowdon has now attributed the council’s change in decision to a “media storm” caused by the initial exclusion, following coverage in the Didcot Herald and Oxford Mail.

Mr Snowdon said: “This coverage has embarrassed the county council.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Ian SnowdonCouncillor Ian Snowdon (Image: Ed Nix)

"Previous accusations from the council were nonsense – the school is completely behind this and we’ve had so much community support.

“I’ve had calls from parents at Oxford schools initially chosen saying they don’t even want this and that they were trying to stop it whereas we’ve had to fight too hard to get it.

“The parents of children at the nearby Ladybird Nursery also use this road and it’s close to Didcot Girls School, helping many people in this location."

Oxford Mail:  School Street July 2021 HResHeadteacher of Manor Primary School Jessica Robinson said: "We are pleased to have made progress and we hope we will now be part of Phase Two rather than having to wait until Phase Three.

“We've started some of the preliminary work and the School Street team will be visiting us in January to review how we proceed from here.

"There aren't many primary schools in the county which are a split site with a non-through road in the centre.

"Our infant site was built in the 1800s, so you can forgive the original town planners for the design, but it does add additional challenges at the start and end of the school day.

“The School Street scheme will allow our pupils to walk, cycle or scoot to the school gates, safely."

Whilst a date is yet to be established by which the School Street will be fully operational, Manor Primary staff and Mr Snowdon hope this will be by the beginning of the 2024 academic year.

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An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “We are currently in discussion with Manor School and councillor Snowdon with a view to progressing a school street for the school.

“We cannot confirm timeframes for schools trialling a school street and exploring other active travel options this early in the phase.

“Timeframes are worked out together with the schools to best fit their needs and feasibility of delivery, so the ‘final’ list of schools progressing a school street in a particular phase can be subject to change.

"A provisional list of schools for Phase Three is to be confirmed."