Consultation on a proposal to expand Icknield Community College

The need for more secondary school places in this area

Demand for secondary school places in the Watlington area is expected to grow over the coming years, for three reasons:

  1. Pupil numbers have already risen in the local primary schools. This is because the birth rate went up in the early/mid 2000s, and the extra children are now reaching secondary school age. In addition, there has been significant housing development in some parts of Icknield’s designated area, especially Chinnor and Benson.
  2. More housing is expected, as it is included in SODC’s adopted Core Strategy, and/or in local Neighbourhood Plans. The timescale for this housing is less certain, but it will in due course attract more families to the area.
  3. The SODC Local Plan proposed large-scale housing growth within Icknield’s designated area, at Chalgrove Airfield. The district council’s target is to finalise and adopt that Local Plan by the end of 2020.

This means that local school capacity needs to be able to meet the short-term increase in demand, without compromising the ability to respond to longer term changes.  

Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient school places in each area. The council works with local schools and multi academy trusts to expand existing schools, or plan for new schools, to meet population growth.

What is being proposed?

The council is proposing to meet the local need for secondary school places in several stages:

  1. Expansion of Wallingford School (which also serves Benson) from 190 places per year to 242 places per year – underway.
  2. Expansion of Icknield Community College from 140 places per year to 170 places per year (850 places in total) – from 2021, subject to this consultation and approval by the Regional Schools Commissioner.
  3. Expansion of Lord Williams’s School (which also serves Chinnor) from 320 places per year to 350 places per year – from 2022, subject to ongoing feasibility assessment and subsequent consultation and approval by the Regional Schools Commissioner.
  4. Longer term further expansion of Icknield Community College. There are two possibilities for this:
    1. If the Chalgrove Airfield development goes ahead as proposed in the SODC Local Plan, the county council and Icknield Community College will consult again, on relocating and expanding the College, up to 1,500 places.
    2. If the Chalgrove Airfield development does not go ahead, a smaller scale of expansion would be needed, up to 1,000 places (Year 7-11). This would require additional land to be made available to the school, and possibilities for this are being explored.

To meet the need of pupils already in local primary schools, we cannot wait until there is certainty over Chalgrove Airfield, and need to plan an interim expansion.  That interim expansion, to 170 places per year, is the subject of this consultation. Once the longer term picture becomes more certain, there would be further consultation about the next stage of the school’s expansion.

The next step, after consideration of consultation responses, would be for the Acer Academy Trust to submit an application to the Regional Schools Commissioner to be allowed to expand. As Icknield Community College is an academy, the Regional Schools Commissioner would then be the decision-maker.

Please read this leaflet before responding: Consultation on a proposal to expand Icknield Community College 



  • Opened
    24 Apr 2020 at 00:00
  • Closed
    22 May 2020 at 23:59


Contact Name Barbara Chillman
Contact Email Address
Contact Phone Number 07554103418

Consultation Topic
  • Education & learning
Target Audience
  • Children
  • Young people
  • Families and parents
  • Councillors
  • Schools
Geographical Area
  • Chalgrove, Thame Watlington and Wheatley