A PRIMARY school is set to expand by more than 100 places, to tackle the number of houses being built in the area.

The delegated decision to increase capacity at Woodstock CE Primary School was made by Oxfordshire County Council’s deputy leader, Liz Brighouse.

Ms Brighouse, who is also the council’s cabinet member for children, education and young people’s services, was recommended to approve the expansion to two forms of entry, with effect from September 2023.

This will see the school increase in capacity from 315 to 420 places.

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Approval is however subject to the granting of planning permission.

At the meeting, the council’s pupil place planning manager, Barbara Chillman, explained: “Planning permission for the expansion has not yet been granted, the application is still under consideration, and the main reason why it’s not yet been granted is that further consideration is being given to the highways issues.

“A little bit more analysis is still going on to how that can be best addressed.

“We do have a date for the expansion of September 2023 – clearly that in itself is dependent on how quickly planning permission gets granted, it may be that the timescale slips to 2024.

“We’re hoping we’ll still make 2023 but it’s all cutting it a little bit fine in terms of planning permission.

“We’ve been in discussions with the highways team for years, but as we’re well aware traffic is not an easy issue in Woodstock, particularly on the roads by the schools.”

Witney Gazette: Woodstock CE Primary School. Picture: Jon LewisWoodstock CE Primary School. Picture: Jon Lewis

By going to two forms of entry, there would be a requirement to increase the school’s admission number in September 2023, from 45 to 60 on a permanent basis.

A council report states: “This expansion is needed to meet the growing pupil population expected to result from housing development already underway in Woodstock, as well as that included in the adopted West Oxfordshire Local Plan.

“Woodstock CE Primary School is full in most year groups, and is regularly oversubscribed.

“For the 2022 intake year, the school has received 50 first preference applications for the 45 available reception places.

“Pupil numbers at the school are forecast to rise as a result of local housing developments. The West Oxfordshire Local Plan identifies Woodstock as an area for strategic housing growth, with 300 homes currently being built to the east of Woodstock.

“The proposed expansion of the school would mean that each year group that starts at the school from September 2023 onward would consist of up to 60 places, making a maximum total of 420 pupils in reception to Year 6 across the whole school eventually.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice