ANGRY parents are demanding action following the delay to opening of a new school.
The school in Bishop’s Tachbrook will not now be ready for pupils until September 2024 – one year later than had been promised.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) recently confirmed the delay to the building of the school off Harbury Lane – which will primarily take children of families moving to the new Oakley Grove housing estate.
Residents Jenny Bevan and Kelly-Anne Box have accused the council and the developer of breaking their promise to those families who moved to the area.
And a Facebook group with around 140 members has been created to lobby the council into accelerating construction and also create a temporary school for the estate’s year seven and reception starters while works progress.
WCC is planning to offer temporary schooling for year sevens while reception pupils will have to be squeezed into existing schools – a process called ‘bulging’.
Warwick and Leamington Mp Matt Western visited the site to meet more than 20 parents and saw there was no obvious sign of any works taking place.
He said: “Not only should the crucial new school be at the heart of the Oakley Grove development rather than on peripheral, sloping, marginal land – but its opening has also now been hit with delays.
“Parents and children are now faced with the least bad option of the council financing a temporary school – because the idea of forcing extra pupils into the district’s other already oversubscribed schools is not worth considering.”
He added forcing families to travel to distant schools would also impact air quality.
He has written to WCC leader Izzi Seccombe demanding a firm plan to help the stranded school starters.
He also asked who will be carrying the additional cost burden caused by the delays and any temporary school – after complications surrounding the transfer of the land.
Bishop’s Tachbrook resident and mum-of-three Ms Box said: “I live next to the proposed site of Oakley Grove school and have children that would hopefully eventually attend the secondary school there.
“Parents at the kids’ primary school feel so let down by the council and children aren’t being thought about.
“All those families that moved their lives to this area with the promise of their kids attending the new school have been left hanging.”
Parent Ms Bevan – who has been campaigning for the school for five years – added: “Part of the draw of living in Bishop’s Tachbrook is the fact a brand-new primary, secondary and special needs school is going to be built within walking distance of our homes.
“Parents and their children have an anxious 18 months ahead of them, unsure where they will find a space for them.
“With young people’s education and wellbeing badly affected by the pandemic, the last thing they need is further anxiety about the future of their education.”
A WCC spokesperson said the council was aware the local community required assurances about school place availability from September 2023.
They added: “We are currently developing plans to ensure that sufficient places will be available in the local area.
“We will be in a position to communicate these arrangements more widely from mid-May.”
In response to funding concerns the spokesperson added any additional places required as a result of delays will be fully funded by the council and would not affect the main project budget.