Sunday, 05 July 2020

Schools merger revived

PLANS to merge Wargrave’s junior and infant schools must be realistic, says a parish councillor.

Graham Howe, who is also deputy executive member for children’s services at Wokingham Borough Council, has revived the One School, One Site project to bring together Robert Piggott junior and infant schools on one new site.

He said he was taking a more “cautious approach” after three previous attempts to deliver the project failed.

The merger would be funded by selling the sites of the existing schools in School Hill and Berverley Gardens for housing.

Speaking at a parish council meeting last week, Councillor Howe said: “We have been trying to do this since 2006 and we are aware there are a few elephant traps.

“The last time the director for strategic commissioning for schools went off and the report that was supposed to be written wasn’t.

“I have been quoted as saying that if I fail with this project it will be over my dead body and I’m not keen to die yet.”

Council chairman Dick Bush asked if the project could include other facilities.

Cllr Howe said he felt the merger was a big enough challenge in itself.

“If there is only one site on the edge of Wargrave because there is nowhere else to go then that would make it a very complicated project,” he said.

“If people want those facilities then they will have to contribute.”

The schools’ executive headteacher Sally Akers supports the merger.

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