Secondary school update from the chairman of the Parish Council
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I wanted to give an update on the new secondary school planned for Oakley Wood Road. As you may be aware the project has been delayed due to issues with the transfer of land from the landowner. To this end the School will not be able to open in September 2023 (as previously planned).
I had a meeting with the leader of the County Council as well as several of her officers and I was fortunate to be joined by our own County Councillor (Jan Matecki). We discussed the concerns around schooling provision for parents of children expecting to start Y7 or Reception in September 2023.
The good news is that they appear to have made progress with the plan to house year 7 pupils temporarily within another school before transferring them to the new school when it opens. This would be a big win for our community and we should work hard to keep up the momentum for achieving this. I’d like to thank all those parents who have been involved in adding their voices (and therefore weight) to this matter – it goes to show what can be achieved when a community works together.
What may be more frustrating for parents expecting their children to start reception in September 2023 is that a similar solution is unlikely to be available. What this would mean is that, where those children start their education is where they will likely stay for the whole of their primary school journey. The county council are therefore speaking to the nearest primary schools asking them to increase their provision where possible. We know demand is high for primary places; however, we are hopeful that a solution will be achieved that puts children and families first.
I know that many parents have concerns about both the primary and secondary schools and I understand the frustration that the delay and uncertainty around their provision has been causing. I have been clear with WCC that (as a community) we need to be kept more informed and be at the centre of their considerations as they look to push this project forward.
As a community we should be excited about this school and WCC should be excited about delivering it – it’s a c£50m project with a view to providing a state-of-the-art school of the future; hopefully soon we can move to a phase in the project where we feel more positive about it and I’ve been clear with WCC that they will play a key part in determining if, and when, that happens.
In the coming days WCC will publish a FAQs section (specifically devoted to our new school) on their website to provide the latest information; the intention is that this will be a real time document that is regularly updated to keep residents informed. I hope that, by the end of May, we will have a far greater degree of certainty for the prospective year 7 students.
Separately the process of appointing an Academy Trust has taken a step forward with the deadline for the submission of bids. As part of this process we were lucky to interact with a number of Multi Academy Trusts who had exciting visions of how our school could prosper. We understand that interviews will take place over the Spring with a view to an appointment being made in the summer.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact our Clerk.