Monday, 08 August 2022

School says it must move to cope with village growth

A NEW location for Goring Primary School should be found as part of the village’s neighbourhood

A NEW location for Goring Primary School should be found as part of the village’s neighbourhood plan, according to the governors.

They say the school is already underfunded and oversubscribed but cannot expand its existing premises off Wallingford Road because there is no more room on the site.

In addition, the village’s population is set to increase over the next decade as Goring must take at least 86 new homes by 2027 to meet government targets.

As it stands, the school must sometimes reject applications from newcomers to Goring and even existing residents whose children have reached reception age.

The governors fear this will happen more often unless the school relocates.

The neighbourhood plan will name the sites for development and suggest improvement to local amenities and infrastructure. Residents have until midnight on Wednesday to comment on the 15 plots which landowners have put forward.

The feedback will be used to shape the final draft of the plan, which will be submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council for independent inspection before going to a referendum.

Although residents have been asked for their views on issues such as buses, road safety, leisure facilities, retail and parking, the school’s capacity has not been included as it is outside the plan working group’s remit.

But the governors say the plan is the best opportunity for the village to highlight the problem and “collaboratively plan for the future”.

In a statement, they said: “The expansion of the village absolutely must take into account the needs of its primary aged children.

“We place the utmost importance on serving the needs of our local community and find having to turn away children from the catchment area who wish to attend deeply regrettable.

“This is already a concern for the governors, even without a significant increase in housing stock. As such, the neighbourhood plan is an opportunity to document the increased demand for provision that is causing concern.

“The number of children generated by an increase in housing stock is, in our experience, often higher than  predicted.

“A recent development of fewer than 20 dwellings has resulted in eight applications.

“The proposed housing could create demand for places in excess of 30 pupils for classes across all year groups. To increase the intake across the school would require a restructure that is not considered possible.

“Simply adding an extra classroom will not be a viable solution.”

Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority, agrees the school cannot expand but insists it can cater for the predicted number of extra pupils.

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