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Column 22nd January 2020

When are all these new school places coming?

David Johnston (our new MP) gave his maiden speech last week and in it he talked about education, so I thought I would provide a summary of the Pupil Plan for the Wantage area from the County Council.

I quote: “The latest forecasts suggest that there will be insufficient primary school places in the area by 2020.”

This will result in a need for new/ expanded schools, the first (due to open next September) is the primary school in the Kingsgrove development on Crab Hill.

The plan goes on to say that Grove Church of England Primary School is proposed to expand to 2 form entry but this is dependent on the approval of the Monks Farm development which should provide additional land for the school.

The detailed planning application for this development was first submitted in May 2016 and was recommended for approval in 2018 but the agreement has still not been signed and amendments to the application were made earlier this month so it may take some time.

We doubt whether this expansion could provide more school places before 2023.

Additional pupils at Grove Primary are currently housed in temporary buildings on the site.

There are plans for a new all-through primary and secondary school on Grove Airfield which have received provisional approval from the Department of Education.

Vale Academy Trust has been granted provisional approval to provide 2 forms of entry in primary provision and 4 forms of entry in secondary provision (11-16 age range).

According to the County Council, the current ambition is to open this for September 2023.

The current agreement with Persimmon requires a primary school to be built before 400 homes are occupied and as around 50 homes are currently occupied it could be a number of years before this target is reached.

This new school will not provide sixth form places, they will remain in King Alfred’s.

In the meantime, more homes are being built on all sites in the villages around Wantage and the only comment from the County so far is “expansion of other village primary schools may also become necessary, related to local housing growth.”

East Hanney currently has capacity but St Amand's Catholic Primary School’s current admission number is higher than that supported by its accommodation.

Investigations are ongoing into how best to expand Stanford-in-the Vale Primary School, and the possibility of expanding Stockham Primary School cannot be progressed unless additional land is made available.


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