Sixth form needed for South West Bicester

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School provision for Bicester should include a sixth form on the South West Bicester site, councillors have said.

Oxon County Council is carrying out consultation on plans for new primary and secondary schools for the town. Bicester Town Council discussed their response at a meeting on Monday night.

The county council proposals include:

> A new site for St Edburg’s Primary School on the South West (Kingsmere) development and a new primary school;

> A new primary school at the Graven Hill development;

> Three or four primary schools for North West Bicester (eco-town).

For secondary schools, the county council is proposing five options including a studio school, catering for students aged from 14 to 19, with 300 or 600 places, or a 600-place 11 to 16 school at South West Bicester.

Studio schools offer a workplace based education. There is currently an application from Activate Learning, formerly the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College group, to open a studio school in Bicester in September 2015.

Other options include an 11 to 19 or 11 to 16 school for North West Bicester.

Town councillor Dan Sames told the Review councillors felt there should be provision for a sixth form at the South West Bicester site.

He said: “The county council is proposing the school on the south west Bicester site only goes up to 16. We felt it should go up to 19 so children aren’t forced to move between schools when they reach sixth form.”

He added: “The size of the town is set to grow considerably. As it stands, many people have been commuting to schools in Kidlington, Woodstock and possibly the new free school in Upper Heyford. If places are on offer in Bicester and the quality is good, people won’t need to commute any more.”

Councillors also raised concerns over provision for special educational needs and the provision of sporting facilities at South West Bicester.

Mr Sames said: “We were concerned county council funding for the sports facilities for south west Bicester was directly linked to the provision of the school. We felt both the school and the sports facilities needed to be provided as soon as possible.

“The county council shouldn’t overlook the number of places at special schools because as the number of people in Bicester rise, the number of special school places might need to rise as well.”