Farley Hill Primary School could be relocated and expanded after the preferred approach to manage the new primary school in Arborfield was endorsed by Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive on 30 January.
A new primary school is currently being built in the Arborfield Garrison major development area and will be ready to open its doors in September 2021. Prior to this happening, the council needs to agree how the school will be managed.
Explored possible options
The council has explored a number of possible options for the management of the new school. And, its preferred option is for the popular Farley Hill Primary School, which is over subscribed, to expand into the new school.
The executive agreed, its meeting on 30 January, for the council to carry out a formal consultation on the preferred approach and, it will start in February and run for 30 days. After this a decision would follow in March 2020..
A statutory consultation is required where a maintained school is proposed to expand significantly. Only Farley Hill Primary School fits the council’s and the Department for Education’s requirements as it is a small local school (210 places) that already serves the Arborfield Garrison area. This proposal deals with small classrooms in old buildings at Farley Hill School, reduces traffic congestion in Farley Hill village and enables school capacity to grow flexibly, in line with the development of the new Arborfield Garrison community.
The proposal is that Farley Hill Primary School relocate to the new Arborfield premises with the potential for future expansion to increase the number of school places in the future.
Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services, said; “We have a duty to ensure there are sufficient school places across the whole of the Wokingham Borough. When additional places are needed we can provide them by expanding existing schools. Our preferred approach is to expand Farley Hill Primary School as this would help meet the needs of the growing community in Arborfield.
“Opening a school on the Garrison will undoubtedly be popular with local families. These proposals would help minimise traffic congestion and carbon impacts of residents driving their children to school. We believe it will ensure a popular, Ofsted ‘good’ school could expand in line with parental preferences. But we must consult on our preferred approach first.”
The council has already discussed these proposals informally with local stakeholders.