A SPECIAL ceremony has marked the start of construction of the Vale Academy Trust’s new primary school in Grove.

The ground at Persimmon’s Wellington Gate development was recently cut to mark the start of the construction.

Present were the head of St John’s Head of School Kerry Cottrell, chair of Grove Parish Council, June Stock, Trust’s Director of Education, Hazel Pittard, deputy chair of the Vale Academy Trust Board, Chris Williams, and Revd. John Durant, Vicar of Vale Benefice and Area Dean, Wantage Deanery.

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Representatives of Persimmon Homes Wessex and TCi who are delivering the first new school at the site were also present.

As part of the proposals to develop a new sustainable community at Wellington Gate, three new schools will be provided locally – two primary and one secondary.

St John’s CE Academy will be the first all-through school, meaning nursery to year 11, in the local area.

The nursery and reception phases will open to children in September 2023 with the secondary phase due to open in September 2025.

The new primary school will be a two-form entry, accommodating 420 pupils including a 75-place nursery.

Commenting on the start of construction, Ms Cottrell, said: “This is a really exciting time to see the school starting to take shape and become a central part of our growing community.

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“Parents are welcome to attend one of our regular information events to find out more about the school including its state-of-the-art technology and innovative curriculum.

“There is still time to register your interest in a nursery place and also to apply for a reception place via our Trust website.”

Residents of Wellington Gate will also benefit from significant public open space, well equipped play areas, an ecological park, a community park, community allotments and orchards.

Persimmon Wessex’s managing director, Julian Roper said: "It's a very proud day for Persimmon as work starts on this new primary school at our Wellington Gate development.

"This will be a state-of-the-art school for the children in the local community, ensuring their educational journey begins in the right environment.

 "From the outset, we have been determined to build homes for the future in sustainable communities, and the delivery of this significant new school provision is at the heart of this vision.”

Revd Durant added: “I am really excited that the foundations are in place and the building is starting to take shape.

“St John’s Academy moto is walk in love so I pray that the whole ethos of the school will be based on the positive, renewing and stimulating love of Jesus Christ”.

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Register your interest in a nursery or reception place at St John’s CE Primary Academy at vale-academy.org/stjohnsceacademy


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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