Grove parish bids for a village academy

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First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

GROVE Parish Council is set to become the first local authority in the country to apply to open an academy school, it is believed.

The council’s schools committee wants the whole village to have a say in what a new school will look like.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed the council can help prepare a bid to the Department for Education (DfE), and the council has agreed to work with London’s Aspirations Academies Trust to create the plans.

Aspirations will open Space Studio Banbury at Banbury Academy in September, training students to work in Oxfordshire’s growing space sector.

Grove Parish Council wants a similar school in the village to prepare teenagers for work in the Science Vale, made up of high tech science businesses at Harwell Oxford and Culham scien-tific campuses.

Schools committee chairman Anthony Harker said: “We want to create a relationship with the community.

“The parish has certain ideals in what we would like to see in a school.

“We would like to develop relationships with local industry. We want to know what we can do to ensure school leavers are best-placed to apply for jobs in the Science Vale.

“We have no knowledge that a parish council has ever been involved like this.”

Mr Harker said Aspirations Academies Trust had attracted them because it had already successfully bid to the DfE, and knew the county council.

Since the passing of the Education Act 2011 all new schools must be academies or free schools, led by a sponsor and approved by DfE.

But, he said: “We would gather public opinion on whether the set-up is appropriate and if people don’t think it’s appropriate then we would walk away.

“We want to find an option which is sympathetic to everyone.”

Councillors are now inviting residents to tell them what they want to see in the new school by emailing aph.radosi@gmail.com

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