Proposed merger of Hanney Pre-school and St James CE Primary School

The Vale Academy Trust (VAT) is proposing to merge Hanney Pre-school with St James CE Primary School. 

The Pre-school shares a site with the school and most of the children who attend the Pre-school move on to St James’ CE Primary School. The two organisations have had a very positive relationship as two separate organisations, but now feel the time is right to join together and move into the future as a single unit.

In legal terms, the proposals are that the school will extend its age range to take children from 2 years old, and the Pre-school charity will close and transfer all its assets to the Vale Academy Trust as part of St James School. The Pre-school building will become the school's Nursery.

The children who are attending when the transfer takes place will continue to attend, and those who are on a waiting list will be offered places in the usual way.

All the current Pre-school staff who are on permanent contracts will be transferred into the employment of the Vale Academy Trust under the ‘Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment’ (TUPE) regulations, and they will be part of the school staff, managed by the Headteacher.

This change will not make a difference for the Pre-school children, they will be in the same building and have the same staff. The VAT has committed to accept the current admission arrangements, so any children who have been already been offered a place for the future will still have that place available. Those who are on a waiting list will remain on the list in the order it currently stands.

There are three main reasons for making this proposal:

  • To be able to offer better continuity for children who transfer to the Reception class, and offer more opportunities for joint activities between the nursery
    children and the main school.
  • To give pre-school staff more opportunities to work with school staff and share their skills and expertise.
  • It will mean that the running of the provision for the youngest children will no longer rely on the goodwill of those who volunteer to be on the Pre-school committee. The pre-school has been very fortunate to have a good committee in recent times, but it can be time consuming and carries a large responsibility for the employment of the staff and managing of the accounts. By coming under the management for the school, provision for pre-school children will be managed by the permanent staff of the school, with the central team of the Vale Academy Trust to call on when needed.

The Trust proposes to make this change from 1st September 2020 or as soon as possible after that. Clearly in the current situation we do not know when the school and pre-school will fully re-open but, having taken this decision shortly before the school closed, all parties want to move ahead as far as possible with this process.

The Trust, supported by the county council, is therefore undertaking a formal consultation on two points:

1. To expand the age range of St James School from the current 4-11 years to 2 -11 years.
2. To close Hanney Pre-school Charity and transfer the assets to the management of The Vale Academy Trust as part of St James CE Primary School, Hanney.

To respond to this consultation, please complete the online feedback form here. If you would like a response to your comments, please provide your email address.

Alternatively, you may respond by:

This consultation will close at midnight on Friday 15 May 2020.

Following the consultation, the Trust will submit an application to the Regional Schools Commissioner, who will be the decision-maker on this proposed merger. 



  • Opened
    3 Apr 2020 at 00:00
  • Closed
    15 May 2020 at 23:59


Contact Name Janine Foulkes-Williams
Contact Email Address
Contact Phone Number 07733 001503

Consultation Topic
  • Education & learning
Target Audience
  • Oxfordshire residents
  • Children
  • Families and parents
  • Carers
  • Schools
  • Voluntary organisations and community groups
Geographical Area
  • Grove and Wantage