Oakbank School staff ready for first pupilsBy Victoria Smith
May 22, 2012
The borough’s first free school has a full contingent of staff and just a few Year Seven places left as negotiations to re-open the Ryeish Green classrooms for teaching near their conclusion.
The West of Wokingham Parent Group (WoWPG) has appointed seven teachers, including a deputy headteacher and headteacher, and a business manager for Oakbank School. It has also sent out offer letters to Year Seven pupils who will be joining Oakbank when it opens in September.
Negotiations between the Department for Education and Wokingham Borough Council over use of the Ryeish Green School site are nearing their conclusion, according to WoWPG and Councillor Rob Stanton, executive member for education services.
Yvonne Maxwell-Billing, member of WoWPG, said campaigners behind the borough’s first free school are expecting to be allowed on site next month to get the classrooms ready for the first cohort of pupils.
She said the next step for Oakbank, which is being launched with the backing of education trust CfBT, will be to appoint support staff, creating around three jobs in the area initially.
She added the number of staff will increase in the next academic year when pupil numbers are expected to double.
Mrs Maxwell-Billing, who has two children in Years Two and Four at Farley Hill Primary, said: “Ryeish Green School was 100 years old when the council closed it, so for the local community it is wonderful to think that will open again and be available for everyone to use.”
Ryeish Green was closed by the council due to falling pupil numbers in 2010.
Mrs Maxwell-Billing, from Grazeley, and other parents decided to launch a campaign for a free school due to the difficulty in securing a place at local secondary schools in Wokingham.
Cllr Stanton said the council was happy to continue working with WoWPG towards the launch of Oakbank.
He said the Ryeish Green School site is likely to be split between Oakbank and the council, however he added there are no plans at present for what the council will do with the land it retains.
For more information about Oakbank visit www.wowschool.org.uk