Sun, 09 Sept 2018
MARY Hare is set to enhance its status as a centre of excellence for deaf children after the charity was given the go-ahead to build a ‘state-of-the-art’ primary school on its main campus at Snelsmore Common.
West Berkshire Council has granted planning permission for the major development, which means the primary school will relocate to join Mary Hare’s existing secondary school on its 140-acre site at Arlington Manor.
Mary Hare Primary School pupils currently attend Mill Hall, a Grade II-listed building at Pigeons Farm Road, Greenham, which dates back to the end of the 19th century.
But the original country house, which was designed by Scottish architect Norman Shaw, has become financially challenging to operate.
High running costs, incurred through a proliferation of ‘single use’ spaces, has been cited as one of the main reasons for relocating to the well-established campus in Wantage Road, as well as limited disabled access.
The distance between the secondary and primary schools – just over five miles – has also been identified as an issue, with the school’s most recent Ofsted report highlighting the need for greater collaboration between staff on both sites.
The application, submitted by RENEW Planning Ltd, comprises a ‘state of the art’ single-storey primary school building along with a two-storey boarding house, located in the upper field of the campus.
The proposals also include a two-storey business centre adjacent to Arlington Arts Centre on the edge of the central campus.
This will feature an earmould manufacturing facility, audiology clinics and a hearing aid repair shop, as well as conference centre rooms.
The existing secondary school will also benefit from a new single-storey vocational classroom block.
An extended access road to the primary school building will accompany the construction, along with rearranged car parking and additional vehicle and cycling provision.
Robert Rattray, who was appointed the primary school’s new headteacher last month, said uniting both schools and sharing more resources on the same campus would reap invaluable benefits for the school’s pupils.
Mr Rattray said: “We all really love our Greenham home at Mill Hall, but the time has come for us to build a modern and inspiring primary school fit for today, tomorrow and into the distant future.
“We passionately believe that by working closely with colleagues from the secondary school, this will allow us to achieve so much more for our children.
“In short, being on one site will truly allow us to tie together all of our expertise to make Mary Hare primary school an even better place for its children
“As the headteacher, I am really excited to be part of this amazing project and I look forward to sharing its progress with everyone, especially the children.”