A new Early Years school is being planned on the Kingsmere Housing Development Site, on the southwest edge of Bicester.

The scheme consists of a purpose built, single storey school, dedicated to nursery, foundation and Key Stage 1 (KS1) pupils.

It also includes associated external works and landscaping.

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The completed scheme will form part of St Edburg’s C of E primary School and is a collaboration with the Oxford Diocese Education team and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC).

Until 2015, St Edburg’s primary school was located in he centre of Bicester and was one of the oldest schools in the town.

Its relocation and expansion to the Kingsmere Estate has meant the school has successfully expanded into a two-form entry school.

Having established the need for additional primary education, Oxfordshire County Council undertook a public consultation, within the community, outlining several options on how the educational need could be satisfied.

Including the provision of a new academy based primary school and the expansion of St Edburg’s across two sites.

The concluding report highlighted a preference for the expansion of St Edburg’s over the construction of a new, standalone school.

The benefits being that the second site would enable children from nursery to year 2 to have the learning environment which best suits their needs and developmental stage.

In addition, outside learning spaces would be available for all year groups and a much stronger connection could be made between inside and outside learning.

In terms of vehicular access, an allowance has been made for a total of 27 car parking spaces, seven of which are proposed to have EV charging points.

Spaces are for staff and visitors and include 2 assisted spaces at the nearest point to the main building.

The entrance to the car park will be via the southern-most vehicle entry point provided, away from the central square to reduce congestion at peak times.

Regarding sustainability, initial aspirations from OCC were that the building would be zero carbon.

However, a zero-carbon building would typically have a 2 storey, compact footprint, with limited door openings and smaller, triple glazed window openings.

The nature of Early Years teaching and education encourages the use of free flow learning between inside and outside spaces, which meant the external doors would be continually opened and closed, resulting in heat loss.

Additionally, there is an importance in maintaining a visual link to the outdoor teaching spaces for safeguarding purposes, and therefore a two-storey building was rejected.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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