Worries that merger of two schools is moving too fast

The Oxford Times: Dominic Woodfield with son, Ollie, one, and parents and neighbours of SS Mary & John School in Hertford Street. Picture OX57940 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo » Dominic Woodfield with son, Ollie, one, and parents and neighbours of SS Mary & John School in Hertford Street. Picture OX57940 Damian Halliwell

PARENTS are concerned they are being “kept in the dark” about a plan to merge two Oxford school sites.

Governors at SS Mary and John Primary School announced in March they were looking to move Year 1 and 2 pupils from their current base at the Irving Building in Hertford Street, Oxford, to the site in Meadow Lane.

Under the proposals, all 360 pupils would be taught at the Meadow Lane site.

Dominic Woodfield is one parent who is against the proposal.

Mr Woodfield, 43, said: “One of the promises we, the parents, were made in March, was that there would be transparency and all the conditions would be met before they made a move.

“There are a number of people who I know who are trying to get to the bottom of what is going on, but I absolutely feel we are being kept in the dark.

“It wasn’t until I started asking more questions that they seem to have said more about where they are with the plans, but I don’t think they are really being that open.”

Mr Woodfield’s six-year-old daughter is at school on the Hertford Street site, and his two-year-old son is currently at the Comper Foundation School.

In a statement published on the school website, governors said the move is “possible and legal”.

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The statement added: “There will not be any definite commitment to a move until governors are satisfied on the conditions agreed in March.

“There are many complex strands to the process – legal, financial, structural – and many of these strands are tied up one with another.

“Understanding the obstacles and working through ways of solving them is taking time.

“But the arguments in favour of the move still stand and governors are committed to working towards making it happen properly, in the way that was originally agreed, to reach the best possible outcome for everyone concerned.”

In the same statement it added that any move could go ahead in time for the start of the next academic year, September 2014.

Amid concerns raised by parents, the statement said there are “no definite plans” to sell the Irving Building in the New Year.

Mr Woodfield added: “It just seems if they are hoping to do this for next September then that is a very short time frame.”

The school governors met on Thursday night.

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