CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to shut Oxford School and reopen it as an academy are urging parents to have their say at two meetings tonight.

Two consultations are under way – one on plans to close the 1,100-pupil school and another on running an academy, sponsored by educational trust CfBT, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford and Cherwell Valley College.

Today County Hall and CfBT representatives will take up residence in the school’s library in Glanville Road, East Oxford, to allow parents to scrutinise the plans at two meetings scheduled at 4.30pm and 7pm.

They are part of ongoing consultations which run until July 19. The county council will then consider feedback during the school holidays in August.

A further six weeks of formal consultation may follow before the council makes its final decision. If the vote is in favour, the school would reopen as an academy in January 2011.

More than 70 concerned parents met at Larkrise Primary School earlier this week as part of the consultations.

After two hours of debate, those taking part urged all Oxford School parents to quiz the people behind the plan today.

Anna Thorne, who has twin boys in Year Seven at Oxford School and has led opposition to the proposals, urged as many people as possible to join the debate.

She said: “Yes, the school has weaknesses but it has got a huge number of strengths.

“We have been looking for the opportunity to have these discussions. We have been campaigning since last summer and at every stage we have felt blocked by the process.”

The Save Oxford School group claims an academy would take power away from the local community and result in a less accountable education system.

But some people at Tuesday’s meeting – who listened to national education campaigner Fional Millar – expressed disappointment about the balance of the speakers, who oppose the academy system.

One parent with children at Larkrise, who did not wish to be named, said: “Let’s look to the future and how we make the best of it for our children.”

And parent and teacher Hannah Forder said: “I think teachers are doing the best job they can in providing fantastic, value-added results, but if you are a parent, you have to take a difficult decision about which school to send your child to.

“We need to go to these meetings and raise these questions.”

Martin Roberts, a member of the school’s interim executive board, said: “We discussed alternatives to going down the academy route, but what in the next two years is the realistic alternative?

“If there isn’t anything done soon, the uncertainty will have a detrimental effect on the school.”

County cabinet member for school improvement Michael Waine said: “Everyone is welcome to come along, whether they have children at the school or not, to talk about the proposals, discuss their views – and ultimately tell us what would make Oxford School their first choice.” People who are unable to get to the consultation meetings can give their view online, at and at /consultation