Council asks for public views about controversial Glenvale Park move for Wilby CE Primary School
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Wilby CE Primary School was recommended by North Northants Council (NNC) to move to the vacant facility in Glenvale Park, and now it is asking the public to express their views via an online questionnaire.
The building in the new Wellingborough development required an existing school in the local area to move into it in time for the 2024-25 academic year after it was discovered that the demand for places would not likely meet the requirements for department of education funding.
Wilby CE Primary was put forward as the potential suitor for the facility, but confirmation of the relocation would require a public consultation.
Cllr Scott Edwards, the council’s executive member for children, families, education and skills, said: “We need to make sure that we arrive at the best decision, and as such it’s important that we gather as many views as possible.
“Both of the expressions of interest we received were of a high standard and after much consideration the panel recommended that Wilby CE VA Primary School move to the next stage.”
The second school to formally bid to move to Glenvale Park was Little Harrowden Community Primary, though it was unsuccessful.
At the time of Wilby CE Primary being recommended for relocation, Beth Renshaw, headteacher of Little Harrowden Community Primary School penned a letter to parents.
It said: “While we are disappointed, please be assured that we are all committed to our school.”
Lynette Dudley, on behalf of the governors of Wilby CE Primary School, responded to the news saying: “We are delighted that Wilby CE Primary has been selected as the preferred school.
"This is a fantastic opportunity that will give our children better learning spaces, more vibrant and green play areas and access to better resources and opportunities.
She called the potential move ‘very exciting news’, but also acknowledged that the recommendation was ‘just the next step in a much longer journey.’
NNC is now looking to gather the thoughts of the public by way of an online survey to better understand the thoughts of locals.
A petition by Ruth Pritchard, a Wilby resident who intended to send her child to the village’s only primary school, amassed more than 300 signatures in July.
When contacted at the time, she said: “The school and the church are the heart of the village and the hub of the community, and without the school I feel it would have a massive negative impact on the village.”
Wilby CE Primary’s relocation would help it avoid being mothballed or repurposed into something new, and the council notes that the vacated site can be ‘reutilised for other educational purposes.’
The Glenvale Park school has the capacity to hold 420 students, more than four-times the 87 pupils at Wilby CE, according to an April 2022 Ofsted report. However, the development will provide an additional 3,000 new homes, meaning there will, theoretically, be room for those moving to the area.
Cllr Jason Smithers, council leader, added: “We need the views of people to shape what happens next and would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation.”
The consultation will run until midnight on October 5, 2023, and you can have your say by completing the online questionnaire here.