The Didcot Herald has featured an article about our new KS2 library, which was officially opened by poet James Carter on Monday.
To all members of the Harwell Primary School Community
We are seeking your views on a matter of importance for our school; whether Harwell Community Primary School could expand to 1.5 or 2 forms of entry (this is explained later in the letter). We don’t yet know when this might be required but the Council has contacted us as part of their desk top exercise, considering possible site expansion.
Please read the details below and take the time to let us know what you think. Your views and comments are really important. We are sorry that the timescales are short, but due to deadlines from Oxfordshire County Council we need your responses by Wednesday 19th November. Mr Gibson and the Governors will then consider your responses in our next meeting, on 20th November. You can either:
- fill in an online survey;
- email your answers to the questions below to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- fill in a paper questionnaire and return it to the school office or your child’s teacher
The increasing need for school places
Today the Vale of the White Horse District Council opens a public consultation on their revised Local Plan, which sets out the proposed additional housing within the district. The District Council have also looked at how many new school places will be needed as a result of the housing development and which existing schools could expand their provision.
What are the proposals?
Harwell Primary School is included in the study. The proposals look at whether Harwell School could expand to either 1.5 form entry (up to 315 pupils) or to 2 form entry (up to 420 pupils). We are currently a 1 form entry school with 164 pupils.
So far the proposals mostly focus on site area; comparing the existing land the school has with the minimum area Oxfordshire County Council consider a school requires for the number of pupils it has. They are not informed by site visits or discussions with schools. This is because at this stage, the Council wants to identify either where housing growth can definitely not be accommodated, or where additional land needs to be added to the school site to allow it to expand.
The proposals conclude that for Harwell Community Primary School:
- Expansion to a 1.5 form entry school would not need more land; 3 extra classrooms could be built within the current site. Some ‘limited internal remodelling’ would be needed.
- Expansion to a 2 form entry would not need more land; 6 extra classrooms could be built within the current site. Some ‘limited internal remodelling’ would be needed. The report concludes that this option would put considerable pressure on existing accommodation.
You don’t need to have read the full report to give your views. But for those who are interested in the detail you can read the full study here.
How would a 1.5 form entry school be organised?
Assuming we would have roughly 45 children in each year, it would mean having split year group classes. So across key stage 1 (years 1 and 2) there would probably be 3 classes, and in KS2 (years 3-6) there would probably be 6 classes. Each class would have a class teacher. It’s hard to be more detailed as it would depend on exactly how many children we had.
How would a 2 form entry school be organised?
This is much more simple – each year group would be divided into two classes, each with a class teacher.
What we are being asked to do
Oxfordshire County Council (who hold the legal duty to provide sufficient school places) have asked Mr Gibson and the Governors to respond to the Vale’s proposals by 30th November. They will then formally respond to the Vale of the White Horse Local Plan consultation with our comments and those of all the other schools on the list. We want to include your views in our response to Oxfordshire County Council.
What issues should we be considering?
There are a range of implications of expansion. We would suggest you consider issues such as the access and approach to the school, parking (staff, visitors and parents), the interior space we have (eg hall), the change in use of some land on our site (from playing field to classroom/parking) and how that might impact on holding events such as firework displays/fetes which allow us to play a central role in the community and to raise money for the school. However we are funded for each pupil we have – so the more pupils we have, the more funding we have and the more economies of scale we can achieve. We would also employ more staff, bringing increased flexibility and the potential for a wider range of specialist skills and knowledge. This potentially means a greater range of resources and experiences to help pupils learn.
Please give us your views. We will include them in our response to Oxfordshire County Council.
Chair of Governors.
Would you support expansion of Harwell school to 1.5 form entry?
Would you support expansion of Harwell school to 2 form entry?
Why are you/would you be supportive of expansion?
Why aren’t you/would you not be supportive of expansion?
Is there any additional information you would need about the proposals to form an opinion?
If the school was expanded, would you prefer:
- 1.5 form entry?
- 2 form entry?
Do you have any other comments relating to expansion of Harwell Community Primary School?
Please tell us about yourself. Are you a
a. parent/carer of a child currently at Harwell School
b. staff member at Harwell school
c. Harwell resident
d. other (please specify)
We will provide updates via our website and school newsletters. If you would like to be kept informed directly please provide your email address.