PARENTS at a housing estate in Bicester are frustrated that a school which was set to open next September will now open a year later.

Oxfordshire County Council announced last July that it would open Graven Hill Primary School to cope with an expected influx of up to 1,200 pupils in Bicester.

Plans for the 420-pupil school, which will be built on the self-build housing site in Graven Hill, were given the go ahead but now the council has said it will open in September 2021.

ALSO READ: New primary school planned for Bicester's Graven Hill estate

Despite the council saying that there is expected to be enough school places in the town for families moving in to Bicester before that date, parents have said otherwise.

Parents are now in limbo as some children are commuting to their previous schools in other towns while other parents, who are living on site, have had to make alternative arrangements away from Graven Hill.

Hannah Hammond-Scott, a parent who lives in Graven Hill, said her son was supposed to start at the school in 2020 and is disappointed by the council.

She said: “We felt really let down that he would not be able to attend a school with neighbouring children that we could walk to. If our son starts primary school elsewhere, it would become a much harder decision to move him to Graven Hill Primary School once it has opened and separate him from the friends he will have made.”

ALSO READ: Grand Design's Kevin McCloud on Bicester's self-build stardom

Another parent, Blanka Geszti, is having to commute to Oxford with her children to school while they wait for the school to be built.

She said: "Our children started school in Oxford which is where we used to live. We've been commuting to Oxford every single day for two years and we are still waiting for the Graven Hill school to open. That's a lot of train journeys with two small children and we are really fed up."

The council says the school opening date is dependent on how quickly the houses are built on the development by Graven Hill Village Development Company.

A spokesperson from the county council said: “Giving young people access to education will always be our number one priority. We will ensure that all children living in the new housing development have a school place, irrespective of when Graven Hill Primary School is ready.

"The school’s opening date is linked to progress on the new housing development. Currently, it’s anticipated the school will be completed in 2021."

ALSO READ: Grand Designs - TV farewell to Bicester's self-builders

Due to self-build homes that are being built on the site, developers say the construction of homes is different to a typical housing estate.

Adrian Unitt, operations director at Graven Hill, said: “When Cherwell District Council acquired the site, plans were put in place to deliver a large number of custom and self-build homes. These follow a different build cycle to traditional developments.

"Oxfordshire County Council has now revised the school delivery date to align with anticipated pupil numbers based on this method of delivery.

“We are actively working with all of our stakeholders to ensure that the development progress allows the school to be delivered as soon as possible.”