Cirencester school set to move across town
A CIRENCESTER Primary School is set to pack its bags and move across town following a final rubber stamping decision by Gloucestershire County Council.
Parents, teachers and governors have given a mixed reaction to the proposed relocation of Watermoor Primary School to the Kingshill area in September 2014.
As part of the move, the school would expand by 50 per cent over two years to cater for new children moving into the area, rising from 140 pupils to 210 pupils by September 2016.
GCC has been consulting with the public about the plans since May 2011, when more than £1m of funding for the new school became available as part of a planning agreement with Kingshill estate developers.
The plans are expected to get the final go-ahead from GCC’s cabinet members at a Shire Hall meeting on February 6.
Mum-of-three and ex-Watermoor pupil Clare Gardner said she was disappointed at first, but had been reassured by GCC’s pledge to provide a temporary minibus service.
"Our concern was the transport – coming from a working family it would be difficult," she said. "Now we’re quite positive about the move. It might help the school to flourish."
But many other parents remain firmly against the idea.
Mum-of-three Katie Poole said she would be forced to take two of her children out of the school because her two-year-old was due to start at Springboard Children’s Centre in September, based by the current Watermoor school site.
"I don’t want to send them to another school but I feel like I have to," she said. "Otherwise I would be splitting myself in two at 9am and then having to get to work as well – it just wouldn’t be possible."
Mum Clare Rachael said: "I’ve argued with it from the start but we were never going to be listened to.
"That school was built for this community and primary schools need to be at the heart of the community, otherwise they’re no good."
She added that Watermoor Primary School was considered a "council kids’ school" and that the move was a way of pushing less affluent families to the outskirts of the town.
Alison Pine, chairman of the school’s governors, said the governors were excited about the proposed move and were hopeful the cabinet would agree to it.
"As a school we will continue to play a large part in the local community," she said.
Ms Pine added that the school would retain strong links with Holy Trinity Church in Watermoor Road.
A GCC spokesman said parents had been fully consulted on the plans and feedback would be considered in the cabinet's decision on February 6 while further consultation would take place before the new school was built, including discussion on early years provision.