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School changes ‘to be approved’
OXFORD’S first mainstream school offering education for youngsters aged between four and 19 looks set to be aproved.
St Gregory the Great School, in Cricket Road, has been consulting on altering its age range to take primary age pupils for the first time.
Education officers are recommending the application for approval and councillors will on Tuesday be asked to approve the bid. The plan is for the Roman Catholic school to take 60 reception pupils from September, increasing the school’s capacity from 1,275 pupils to 1,695.
Heyford Park Free School, which would also offer an all-through education, is due to open this September.
According to Oxfordshire County Council’s own figures, it needs an extra 206 reception places over and above those confirmed for September 2013, rising to 338 by 2016.
In his report, children’s services director Jim Leivers said: “There is a specific need for places at Catholic schools.”
He added Oxford’s Catholic primary schools together currently offered 150 places.
Ten responses were received to the proposal, four in favour and six raising concerns about traffic, the effect on existing primariess and the growth of a faith school.
Council education cabinet member Melinda Tilley said: “I think an all-through school there will be brilliant.”
It is thought about £3m may be needed to provide suitable facilities. The cost would be shared by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham and the county council.
St Gregory’s is also consulting on converting to an academy.