The first ever meeting for parents who have enrolled their children for the Oakhurst Community Primary School took place on 9 June with headteacher Dale Burr welcoming about 50 parents at North Swindon Library.
He introduced three members of staff who have been appointed to start at the school in September:
Mrs Gillian Jones – Foundation Stage teacher who has been teaching for 10 years, and will be coming from Beechcroft Infants;
Miss Kasia Wojewodka – Year 1 teacher, and Key Stage 1 co-ordinater, currently at Bridlewood Primary School;
Denise Barkham, presently at Bridlewood Primary, will be school bursar.
Mr Burr, who is headteacher of Minety Primary School, will be working on plans for the new school for two days a week. He said that he had vowed never to be involved in another brand new school because of the stress in getting it up together, but the opportunity to return to Swindon was too great an attraction.
"It will be blood, sweat and tears, but Ms Wojewodka and Mrs Barkham have both experienced the joys of opening a brand new school. And we're delighted by the number of parents at the meeting who want to know more about Oakhurst."
The school will open for reception and Year 1 children in two temporary classrooms in September in a corner of the site on Pioneer Road. Building work on the 240 place permanent school has started with completion programmed for July 2010.
The school has been in-the-works for a very long time, with parents having had to battle to get the school built in the first place. Due to funding problems and a mis-estimation of the number of children expected in Oakhurst, Swindon Council had deleted the site from the building programme in 2005. But a campaign by parent Lizzie Fewings forced local councillors to reconsider the needs of the area.
Then, when government funding was secured, the rules on building new schools had been changed, taking the process away from local authorities and putting it in the hands of consultants to run a 'competition.' As a result, in addition to a bid from Swindon Council, and to the consternation of parents, a Muslim organisation proposed to run Oakhurst, allocating half the places to muslim children and half to the community. However, parents won their battle when the school's adjudicator decided that the council should be responsible for both building and running the school.
At the meeting parent campaigner Lisa Davis said, "it's almost overwhelming, it's been such a struggle to get to this stage. To finally have a school for the Oakhurst community is marvelous; so many people will benefit, it's unbelievably fantastic."
Rick Kirk, who was also involved in the campaign, agreed. "We are really excited. The amazing turn out at the parents' meeting shows how much the community want the school."
Mr Burr said he was impressed by the unity of spirit amongst Oakhurst parents. "I want to build on what parents have achieved. I believe the way we get things done is through working together. The parents have already shown this and I very much want to make Oakhurst Primary the centre of their community."
He told the meeting that he felt following the simple and inexpensive uniform dress code would do so much for school spirit. He also said there are only two spaces left in the Foundation stage class, but only 11 children in Year 1. Parents who want to take up places should contact him directly himself .
He added that a web site is being developed.
Children 5 years of age: 1st September – 31st March (full time from
Monday 7th September – part time 3rd and 4th September)
Children 5 years of age: 1st April – 31st August (full time from Monday
14th September – morning only sessions 3rd September to 11th
The first two days of term will be teacher training days to allow staff to set up their classrooms in the mobile buildings. The last two days of the summer term 2010 have been set aside for teacher training days so that equipment and furniture can be moved into the permanent school.
Getting to and from school. There is no parking on or near the site whilst building works takes place. Parents/carers are asked to walk to school with their children.
Uniform – available from Trutex on the upper floor of the Brunel Centre:
Boys: Black shorts/trousers, black shoes, white polo shirt (with/without logo), purple sweatshirt/fleece with logo.
Girls: Purple summer dress, black shoes (low heels), black skirt/trousers, white polo shirt (with/without logo), purple sweatshirt/fleece with logo.
P.E. – Black shorts/skirt, white T-shirt, daps/plimsoles/trainers.
Hot dinners will not be available in the temporary mobile buildings for a year and parents are asked to send children to school with a packed lunch. Children should not bring fizzy drinks or glass to school. Due to allergy risks and hyperactivity, no nuts, sweets will be permitted.
The school will supply fruit at break times and milk provision is being investigated.
After School Care
This will be provided by The Big A Club at Isambard Community School. Big A staff will walk children to Isambard. If there is sufficient interest a breakfast club will be considered from September 2010.
Address: Oakhurst Community Primary School, Pioneer Road, Oakhurst, SN25 2HY.
Messages can be left for Mr Burr at Swindon education department: 01793 463877
or mail him: email@example.com