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Groundbreaking at new Bicester Graven Hill Primary School on unique housing scheme

The 420-pupil primary school development at Graven Hill has moved a step closer with the steel frame superstructure being signed by a local child at a celebration event this week. A traditional bolt tightening also took place to recognise the significant milestone in the delivery of the primary school.

Graven Hill Village Development Company and Kier welcomed councillors and officers from Cherwell District and Oxfordshire County councils, Warriner Academy Trust and local child Jackson-Jordan Daly to the event where the winning pre-school poster design for the hoardings around the three-hectare site was unveiled.

Grant Gibson, construction director of Graven Hill Village Development Company, said: “The event was a great way to mark the fantastic progress being made as the new Graven Hill Primary School takes shape. It was also great to see Jackson-Jordan, who will one day have the opportunity to learn at the school, visit during its construction.

“I’d like to thank all of those involved for their hard work to ensure we could deliver this project despite the huge challenges the UK construction industry is facing. The school will be run by the flagship Warriner Academy Trust, on behalf of the County Council, and will be a key part of our growing community at Graven Hill.”

Councillor Calum Miller, Cabinet Member for Finance and Property at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that the Graven Hill Primary School is now under construction. It has been a long wait for the growing community here so I am glad that residents, including those who will benefit from the school in future, were present for this ceremony. Thank you to the teams from Graven Hill, Kier, Cherwell District and Oxfordshire County Councils who are making this happen.

“A primary school helps to create a sense of place and of belonging. Within its walls, hundreds of children will learn and grow as members of the Graven Hill community. At its gates, hundreds of parents will gather and connect. It is exciting to see this important step in delivering the community facilities that will make Graven Hill an even better place to live.”

Kier will complete the development in August 2023, with the two-form entry school set to be handed over to the Warriner Academy Trust in autumn 2023. It will comprise 12 classrooms, specialist facilities for art, design and technology and more than 13,000 sq. m of pitches, play and multi-use games areas. The early years facility will accommodate a further 90 pupils aged between 2-4 years in three classrooms, with dedicated facilities and play areas. The site also enables the school to expand to three-forms of entry in future.

This sustainable development is targeting a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating, recognising this independent best practice assessment which evaluates energy and water use, health and wellbeing, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

The building has been designed with enhanced thermal values and high performance materials to the principles of Net Zero Carbon. The photovoltaic panels will also provide power to the local grid when the school is not in use. As well as reducing the amount of heat, energy and water the school will use, the design also maximises natural ventilation in order to deliver a healthy place to learn.

Kier regional director for Kier Construction Andy Bolas, added: “With infrastructure now complete and the team now working on the superstructure, we were able to mark the steel work progress at today’s milestone event. As well as welcoming local children and families to the site today, we are working hard to involve and inspire local students during the build by offering providing career guidance, work experience, site visits and supporting apprentices with training and development”

The 300 metres of hoardings along Graven Hill Road and Hull Lane will be decorated by the winning design from the Graven Hill Primary School Picture Competition.

Graven Hill remains a hugely popular development. Unique and diverse, it offers a wide range of housing options from self-build and custom build, which can be tailored to your needs, to apartments and affordable homes. It is set in open, green spaces including woodland, allotments and a network of cycle and footpaths.


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