Primary school could link with playgroup

Harriers Banbury Academy
Harriers Banbury Academy

Early proposals are in place to link Harriers Banbury Academy with Easington Playgroup, creating an academy for children aged from rising three up to 11.

Fiona Hims has been principal of Harriers Banbury Academy since September and has seen the school increase by 40 pupils to 337 students.

The playgroup, which is run by Margaret Burr, also operates on the school’s site in Harriers View.

An eight-week consultation was launched on January 20 and a meeting with parents about the merger will take place at the school on Monday, March 10 at 5pm.

Mrs Hims said: “As a school we get a lot of support from the playgroup.

“It is also situated on the school site and we seek to help improve education and share resource learning.

“It is early days but this meeting will let us share our thoughts and ideas with parents.

“An arrangement like this would make our link with the community stronger and the academy would be more accommodating to children living nearby, which is a good thing. We are very much a community school and I think it is really important to show people we are very serious about this plan and we have a good working relationship.”

The playgroup was approached by the academy about the proposal last year.

If the consultation is successful, it is hoped a new building to accommodate the growing numbers could be built in the academic year of 2015/16.

The proposal would be in place from September 2014.

A letter to parents said: “We believe that the quality of the staff in both organisations will bring huge benefits to the children and pupils, and their families, by working as part of the same school.”

Mrs Burr would continue to lead the playgroup with her team and the Easington Playgroup Management Committee would be ended.

Members would be invited to sit on the Harriers Banbury Academy Local Advisory Board (LAB) – the equivalent of the governing body in a local authority school. Mrs Burr said: “It is all really positive and exciting news for the playgroup.

“It gives us an opportunity to expand and allows the children to have a seamless flow of education, right from when they come to the playgroup to when they join Harriers in Year One.

“The children will know the teachers and the school as well so it will make that transition from the playgroup so much easier. Parents will not have to find a primary school for their children as everything will be here on one site.

“In the short term, nothing will change. But we hope by 2015/16 that we can get a new build on the site as we start to get an increase of children.

“Everyone is really positive about this news and we hope we can keep moving towards this merger.”

Separate to the playgroup proposal, plans are in place to build a new Year One classroom at Harriers to accommodate the school’s increase in numbers.

For more information visit or call the school on 01295 263067.