Proposed education specification for a new primary school at Graven Hill, Bicester


** UPDATE - 12th September 2018 **

Thank you for participating in the consultation on the proposed education specification for the new primary school at Graven Hill, Bicester. Your helpful feedback has been used to improve and strengthen the specification by identifying local needs and ideas for how the school can integrate better into the unique community of Graven Hill.

 Some of the key ideas raised and used to improve the specification were:

  • Active participation in local initiatives such as Healthy New Town Programme;
  • Creating a culture that is supportive of physical and mental wellbeing;
  • Enhancing community development and integration;
  • Enrichment and extended services, such as breakfast clubs, sports clubs, homework clubs and music/art clubs;
  • Promoting sustainability including travel, to reflect the ethos of the development.

One point raised frequently was the desire for the school to open as multi-age entry to accommodate all children from the development. As the school needs to be an academy, we must attract a high-quality academy trust to run it. Based on your consultation responses, we will specifically seek an academy sponsor who is willing to be flexible in mixing ages to open year groups as quickly as possible. However, whilst we can seek a trust who is willing to run a mixed age Key Stage 2 class, we cannot force it to do so if it would be unviable or detrimental to education and this will also be weighed in conjunction with the many other measures of how suitable a trust they are to run this school.

Once the academy sponsor is selected, in the year prior to the school opening, they would usually open an "expressions of interest" list to judge how many children of each age they could expect, and this will be vital in their decision on how many year groups to open. The decision on multi-age entry will be made by the determined academy sponsor, based on the actual demand for places and viability.

 All feedback gathered by the county council during this consultation will be passed on to the eventual academy sponsor for them to consider; this willingness to engage with community feedback is also something we will assess during the sponsorship selection process.

During the consultation there was further discussion with the Graven Hill Village Development Company (GHVDC) about the timescale of the development including when the school could be built. As a result, the county council and GHVDC have agreed that the school should now open in September 2021. Understandably, this will be a disappointment to those that were hoping the school would open in 2020, however there will be availability of suitable places for children living in the development to attend upon occupation.

The proposed specification will now be considered by the Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services at a meeting on 19th September 2018.

Thank you again for your input into helping us shape the future of this new primary school.



A new primary school is due to open on the Graven Hill housing development in Bicester. At the current time, it is expected to open in September 2020.

Oxfordshire County Council has drafted a specification, to outline the characteristics of the new school.

You can read this draft specification here: Draft specification for new school in Graven Hill, Bicester

The Department for Education states that the presumption must be that all new schools are academies. The Guidance on this can be read here:

This means that new schools are not run by Oxfordshire County Council, but by an academy sponsor. It remains the county council's duty to ensure sufficient pupil places. 

The county council would now like you to help us shape what type of school this should be. There are some things that we already know, and which can't be changed: for example, the size of the school (2-form-entry primary school) and the location (on a specified site within the Graven Hill development).

However, there are other characteristics of the school which are open for debate and suggestion, and these include:

  • Any specialism or focus it should have
  • Are there areas that you feel there is a gap for in Bicester, which the school could address?
  • How should the local community be able to use the school's facilities?
  • What would you like to see the school offering to the local population outside of school hours?

You can send us your feedback via this online questionnaire: Feedback questionnaire for new primary school at Graven Hill, Bicester

Alternatively, you can email us your feedback, putting 'New Primary School at Graven Hill, Bicester' in the subject line, to

Following this public consultation, responses will be considered and the final specification will be confirmed by OCC Cabinet Member for Children, Education & Families in early Autumn 2018.

After this, in late September 2018, we expect to then invite sponsors to submit Expressions of Interest in running this new school. The sponsors must submit showing how they will meet what is in the school specification. Shortlisting, detailed bids and interviews would then follow.

The final decision on who runs the school is made by the Department for Education's Regional Schools Commissioner on behalf of the Secretary of State.

This consultation has now closed.


  • Opened
    13 Jun 2018 at 00:00
  • Closed
    24 Jul 2018 at 23:59
  • Response to be published



Contact Name Lucy Mills
Contact Email Address
Contact Phone Number 07586478794
Contact Postal Address County Hall
New Road
Contact Details

As above. 

Consultation Topic Community-led planning, Education & learning, Planning
Target Audience Oxfordshire residents, Families and parents, Councillors, Schools, Voluntary organisations and community groups
Geographical Area Bicester