WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 27th February 2019

It's our new school so why don't we get a say on the plans?

As you probably know, we should be getting new schools on both the Crab Hill and Grove Airfield Developments.

The signed agreements with the developers require one primary school on Crab Hill and two primary schools and a secondary school on Grove Airfield.

We believe that Persimmon have proposed amending the existing agreement to deliver an all-through school on Grove Airfield and have met with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to discuss this. More details on this should be available later this year.

The first school to be planned in detail is the primary school on Crab Hill and the plans will be signed off by the District Council Planning Department shortly.

We understand that the plans meet the County Council standards (these appear to be a little like the parking standards and require the developers to do the absolute minimum).

The school has one nursery classroom and two classrooms for early years and each year from years 1 to 6.

Younger children and pupils in years one and two will be on the ground floor with years 3-6 on the upper floor.

The Hall will be big enough to take about 200 adults, so lunches will have to be staggered and assemblies will have to be by year.

There is one small studio space and one even smaller breakout area on each floor. The sick room is combined with the general office.

As far as we can tell, no teachers have been involved in the design.

The Town Council tried to get the plans discussed at a Vale Planning meeting but it has been taken out of their hands.

It’s only a few weeks since the Herald reported that Didcot's Aureus School received the Carnegie mental health award for having a dedicated 'safe space' called the nurture room, for stressed students to take time out in.

Aureus School also have a sensory room where pupils can watch an aquarium or sit under a weighted blanket.

Given all the news recently about the level of stress in school, the need for more quiet space should surely be built into any new school.

Why should we have to settle for minimum standards – shouldn’t we have asked the teachers in our current primary schools what they believe a good school design looks like?

The developers say that whichever academy takes the school will have the opportunity to comment.

This says “comment” – not amend or add to.

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