Department for Education shelves proposals to expand Harrogate's Oatlands Junior School

Department for Education shelves proposals to expand Harrogate's Oatlands Junior School.
Department for Education shelves proposals to expand Harrogate's Oatlands Junior School.
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A contentious plan to try and expand an infant and a junior school into two separate Harrogate primary schools has been terminated by the Department for Education.

The plans concerning Oatlands Infant and Junior schools were first announced in March this year.

Presently, pupils start reception at the Infant school on Hookstone Road, before transitioning to the Junior school on Beechwood Grove at Year 3.

But in March, Oatlands Junior School, which is part of the Red Kite Learning Trust (RKLT) expressed a desire to expand the school into a full primary school accepting pupils straight from reception.

It added that the Infant school, which is part of the Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust (YCST), could also expand its school into another separate primary.

However, the plans, which proved contentious with a number of parents at the schools have been dismissed by the Department for Education as being unsuitable without the support of the YCST.

Richard Sheriff, Chief Executive, RKLT, said: “Both the RKLT and Oatlands Junior school have tried hard to make clear that at no point have they wanted to damage the Infant school, but instead instigate change that would be in the best long-term interests of every child that we serve.

“Although we appreciate that the process would not be easy, we do feel that a way forward was available.

Chris Tulley, Trustee and Chair of Governors at the Junior School responded by saying, “The outcome of the consultation is not what we had hoped for, but Oatlands Juniors remains a brilliant school. We will work around the issues that we face around transition and make the best of the situation we are powerless to change.”

John Wood, Chief Executive Officer of YCST and Alison Glover, Chair of the YCST Board of Trustees said: “Following detailed consideration of the proposal put forward by RKLT and taking note of the significant number of comments received during the consultation process, YCST is not in support of this significant change of status.

“It is our view that if this proposal had been agreed, then it would have had a detrimental effect upon the education offered to the children of Oatlands Infant School and the community it serves.

“We are fortunate to have two superb schools in this locality and it is our desire to seek a fresh approach to collaboration between the schools and Trusts as a way forward for the benefit of all children in the area.”