A NEW primary school for Witney will be a sponsored academy, the county council has said.

Oxfordshire County Council has launched a consultation into the proposed school, to be part of the 1,000-home West Witney development.

As part of the £250m estate, between Curbridge Road and Downs Road, a new primary school will have to be built.

The county council now wants people to help decide the specifications – the academy hoping to run the school needs to fit when bidding to sponsor. The authority has the responsibility for suggesting the preferred bidder to the Department for Education.

The new school will be able to take 45 pupils each year into its reception class.

The buildings are expected to be ready by 2017 and land will also be set aside for a secondary school to be built in the future.

Oxfordshire Labour councillor for Witney South and Central, Laura Price, said she was concerned about the academy system, but encouraged Witney residents to take part in the consultation.

She said: “The main problem with the academy system is that it takes away local accountability from county council officers and councillors.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Melinda Tilley

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for children, education and families, Melinda Tilley, said: “Academy trusts can be set up by a wide range of organisations – including religious groups, businesses or charities – each with a particular focus or specialism.”

See oxfordshire.gov.uk/newwitneyschool and responses can be emailed to WitneyNewSchool-manager@myconsultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk The consultation closes at midnight on April 13.