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‘Don’t break promise to us over expansion’ says Windmill Primary head
A HEADTEACHER has called for Oxfordshire County Council to “keep its promise” for new classrooms and hall after plans to expand her school were approved despite objections.
The council’s cabinet yesterday unanimously approved plans to increase the number of pupils at Windmill Primary School from 480 to 630 by September 2016.
This would make it the only three-class entry school in Oxford, and the county’s biggest primary. The expanded intake from 60 to 90 pupils a year over five years is due to start this September.
The proposal to expand the school from a two to three class entry was opposed by 80 per cent of people who responded to a survey on the plans.
Headteacher Lynn Knapp said she wouldn’t let the county council break its promises to parents, pupils and staff.
At the meeting, cabinet member for education, Melinda Tilley, promised the council would try to tick off every part of the school’s wishlist, which includes a larger hall and more classrooms.
But speaking after the meeting, Mrs Knapp said: “I don’t know if I am reassured, because I’ve had so many contradictions. I’m just not able to take things at face value.
“The communication has been really poor throughout this process, and has only improved a little bit in the past few weeks, and even then it hasn’t been transparent communication.
“I want communication to be honest and open.”
Mrs Knapp said her biggest concern was the school hall, which she said needed to be enlarged so all pupils could be accommodated.
She added: “It’s the one thing that no one has been able to say for certain it will happen, but I will make sure they do it.”
During the meeting, Mrs Tilley, who previously told the school that forced expansion had not been ruled out but was the “worse-case scenario”, said the council wanted to work with the staff and governors.
She said: “We have got the money for the expansion, but I can’t promise totally that it’s going to pan out.
“We will do everything that’s in her list providing that when we take walls down and put new walls up that we don’t find something horrible.”
The council has also been criticised for failing to provide detailed plans for expansion.
Parent Andy Khan-Gordon said: “They said when they came to the school that there would be drawings to look at, but we’ve seen nothing.
“The way the council has acted you would think that only 20 per cent of people were opposed to it, not 80 per cent.
“They have treated it like any other expansion, when what they are trying to do is unique.”
Mrs Tilley said no plans had yet been drawn up.