A NEW primary school set to cost almost £13 million could open in two years to address housing growth in Oxfordshire.

The school will take in pupils from the 1,800-home development currently being constructed in north east Didcot at Ladygrove, and will be situated in the same area.

Didcot is a town where a significant increase in housing is planned, with South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan outlining 6,300 houses will be built between 2006 and 2027.

Plans for the school to serve this housing growth can now progress after a delegated decision was made by Oxfordshire County Council’s deputy leader, Liz Brighouse – who is also the county council’s cabinet member for children, education and young people’s services.

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A specification for the new primary has been approved, with the school set to admit 60 children and have a total number of 420 places from Reception to Year 6 when fully open.

It will also include a nursery for two and three-year-olds, totalling 90 full-time places.

The school will be designed and constructed by the county council, at an estimated cost of £12.9 million.

It will be fully funded by developer contributions secured by Section 106 agreements.

Contractors have already been appointed to develop the design for the school and a planning application is expected late this year, with the expectation that the school will open in September 2023.

By this planned opening date, between 400 and 500 houses are set to be completed within the 1,800-home Ladygrove development, which in the longer term will include a second primary school and new secondary.

Up to three primaries and a special school are included in plans for further development to the west of Didcot.

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The Education Act 2011 requires that all new schools are expected to be academies or free schools, meaning they are not run by local authorities, except in exceptional circumstances.

The county council will not run the new school, therefore an academy trust is being sought to take control.

The next stage of the process is to find interested parties to submit outline expressions of interest to run the school.

Such expressions of interest will be sought from October 6 to November 3, and then shortlisted by council officers.

Those shortlisted applicants are then invited to submit a detailed proposal by January.

The county council will own the school site, which is expected to be made available to the academy on a 125-year lease.

There are currently 13 primary schools already in Didcot and the immediate area.