headteacher's welcome

People living on Witney’s newest housing estates got a first look around their local primary school at the weekend.

Windrush Church of England Primary School threw an opening party on Saturday for residents of the new Windrush Place and Colwell Green developments in the west of the town.

The day featured free ice cream and a bouncy castle, and local families were also given the chance to plant flowers around the school site.

Windrush opened for its first reception year and nursery children at the start of last month.

The school is operated by Oxfordshire-based multi-academy trust River Learning Trust (RLT) and the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (ODBE). 

RLT operates three other primary schools in the town – Madley Brook, Witney Community and Tower Hill, as well as Edith Moorhouse in Carterton and Charlbury Primary School. Its secondary schools include Chipping Norton and The Marlborough in Woodstock.

Windrush headteacher Claire Doland said: “We have the most fantastic facilities here at Windrush – but we recognise that schools are about people, not places.

“That was why we wanted to hold an event where local residents were welcomed in to see the buildings and the grounds. This school is, after all, their school.

“The weather might have been pretty awful on the day – but we are lucky to have plenty of space and community facilities inside, so it all passed off brilliantly.

“I think it was only the grown-ups who had to go and do the ceremonial tree plantings in the grounds who were bothered by the rain!”

The construction of the school was carried out by developer Halsall.

Paul Lacy, operations manager at Halsall, said: “It’s a privilege to have been able to help create this special place that is going to be right at the heart of a wonderful new community.”

Windrush’s initial intake will be 30 pupils, although it will have the capacity to increase to 45 children a year in due course. The school – the first to open in the town since Madley Brook in 2003 – also offers a breakfast club and after-school care.

Windrush will be the fourth Church of England school in Witney. The other CofE schools in the town are The Batt, The Blake and St Mary’s.