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Views sought on plans for schools in the north of Swindon
SWINDON Council is to hold public exhibitions to consult on two possible options for providing more primary school places in North Swindon due to a lack of classroom space.
The council needs to create 60 reception places a year in North Swindon from September 2014, with demand particularly coming from Taw Hill and Oakhurst.
Following a feasibility study of seven different sites in May, the council agreed in July to take out two sites to public consultation.
The options are to either expand Orchid Vale Primary School to provide one new form and build a new one-form school on land to the west of Thamesdown Drive at Taw Hill, or just to build a new two-form school on the land to the west of Thamesdown Drive.
The public consultation events will be held at the Tawny Owl pub, Taw Hill, on Monday, November 12 and on Tuesday, November 13 at Orchid Vale Primary School, between 3pm and 7pm.
A display featuring both options will also be available in the foyer of North Swindon Library, at the Orbital Shopping Centre, where questionnaires will also be available.
Coun David Renard, the cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We have a good record of providing parents in North Swindon with primary school places at one of their three preferred schools within the area.
“Last year 93 per cent of applicants to a North Swindon primary school were offered one of their preferences, with 82 per cent being offered their first preference.
“Despite creating an additional 440 primary school places in north Swindon over the last five years, we are facing a significant challenge to meet the on-going long-term demand for primary school places in north Swindon and we need to build permanent capacity in order to meet that demand.
“A feasibility study identified the two options as the best solutions for meeting this demand and I would encourage local people to attend the two consultation events so they can give us their feedback.”
The council says the Orchid Vale site is suitable for permanent extension, with no main access issues.
The land near Thamesdown Drive is council-owned farmland, and is near to but not part of Mouldon Hill Country Park.
The council says the site is suitable for primary age provision and has the potential for community facilities, as well as providing further places for secondary aged pupils following further investigation.
Coun Emma Faramarzi (Con, Priory Vale) said: “If you build a one form of entry school at Mouldon Hill, there’s scope to expand if you need to later on. And spreading the school places out is probably a better idea in terms of traffic flow.
“So if we had one form of entry at Mouldon Hill and with a view to expand if we needed to and an expansion of Orchid Vale school, that would even out the numbers, so not all the traffic is going to one area.”
For further information and to complete the questionnaire online, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/schoolplaces