A new primary school for north Wokingham is a step closer after The Keys Academy Trust was approved by the Secretary of State for Education to run it. The 210-place school, which is being built with a new community facility on the same site in on land off Queens Road in Matthews Green.
The Keys Trust has a track-record of providing a fantastic educational experience to children across the borough,” said Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services. “We’re delighted to be working with them again as we begin our journey to construct what will undoubtedly be a brilliant facility in a few years’ time, in line with when we expect additional school places to be required in the area.”
Ground works for the school have already been completed, with the buildings themselves being constructed modularly off-site by contractor Reds10. Work on these begins this month with installation on site between November 2020 and January 2021. The buildings are expected to be ready for community use from late summer 2021, with the timing of the school opening dependant on demand for places. Off-site construction benefits nearby residents as it will reduce the noise and plant traffic on the roads.
This new school and community facility is part of the North Wokingham major development (Strategic Development Location), where approximately 1,900 new homes are planned, with supporting infrastructure, including this school. More than 1,000 of these homes are already occupied following construction by Crest Nicholson, Berkeley Homes, Bellway, Bovis Homes and Linden Homes.
Building housing alongside essential facilities is part of the council’s long-term plans to accommodate housing in ways that allow people to walk and cycle for everyday activities, helping the borough on its journey to be carbon neutral by 2030. Infrastructure being delivered includes schools, roads, shops, play areas, nature parks and sporting and community facilities.
These facilities are funded through developer contributions as part of the four major developments at Arborfield, Shinfield and North and South Wokingham, and includes an investment of £98 million in new schools.
In total these developments will bring seven new primary schools, with one already open at Montague Park, another opening next month at Alder Grove in Shinfield and two others under construction including this one in Matthews Green and another at Arborfield Green. This is in addition to Oak Tree School which is the new Free School for children with SEND to be built at Winnersh Farm, and the Bohunt Wokingham Secondary School at Arborfield Green which opened its doors in September 2016.
Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, added: “Providing essential infrastructure alongside housing across the borough is a crucial part of the way development has been planned in the area. The announcement of the operator for the new school in the north of Wokingham is another key milestone as we realise almost £100 million investment in new educational facilities in our area.”
The Keys Academy Trust, which already runs nine other primaries in the borough, is a Church of England multi-academy trust committed to providing the very best educational experiences for its pupils and staff so that its family of academies are recognised as centres of academic and pastoral excellence at the heart of the communities they serve.
It will open the new Alder Grove School in Shinfield next month, as well as operating Crazies Hill Church of England (C of E) Primary School, Polehampton C of E Infant and Junior Schools, Sonning C of E Primary School, St Nicholas C of E Primary School, Earley St Peters C of E Primary, The Coombes, and St Sebastian’s C of E Primary.
Hester Wooller, executive headteacher and CEO of The Keys Academy Trust, said: “The Keys Academy Trust is delighted to be appointed as the provider for the new primary school at Matthews Green. The Keys Academy is a local trust based in Wokingham with nine primary schools and we look forward to working in partnership with the council to develop another new primary school to serve this new community. This is a very exciting time of growth within The Keys.”
A new 500sqm community facility will be built next to school. These will have separate entrances but will be linked, with the school and community centre sharing facilities if and when needed. Decisions on who will run this are still to be determined.