West Berkshire Council

New Theale Primary School: Our Proposal

Our proposal to build a new primary school in Theale

2016 - image of the entrance to the proposed new Theale Primary School

Since 2012 Theale Primary School has seen an increasing demand for school places. In order to ensure the next generation of Theale children are able to go to school in the village West Berkshire Council is proposing to build a new £8m school.

The existing school was built to accommodate 210 pupils - up to 30 new children each year. Due to changes in the village population Theale Primary School is heavily oversubscribed. Demand for school places will increase in future and developments already agreed will see 121 additional children requiring school places.

Recently the school has installed temporary accommodation to admit 45 new pupils each year. This was an interim measure while a new school was built and it has put the school community under a great deal of pressure. It cannot continue without impacting on children's education and from September 2019 the school will return to accepting only 30 pupils each year, unless there is an agreement to release the lease on the land.

In order to meet current and future demand West Berkshire Council is planning to build a new £8m school in the village providing outstanding education for up to 60 pupils per year group (a total of 420 school places).

A study found the current site unsuitable for expansion and eleven alternative sites in the village were considered. Each was evaluated and only one was found to be a viable site for the school. Theale Parish Council leases the 13 acre North Street Playing Fields from the Englefield Estate. Five acres is required for the new school with the Englefield Estate, agreeing to provide it to West Berkshire Council. This is conditional on Theale Parish Council agreeing to release five of the 13 acres of playing fields it currently leases. In return, the Englefield Estate has agreed to lease 2.2 acres of land directly opposite the site and sign a new 25-year lease on the remaining and newly offered land.  

Planning permission has been granted both for the new school and for the replacement land to be used as recreational space.

The new school cannot be built without the land at North Street Playing Fields. If the current plan goes ahead now it is expected to open in September 2020. The alternative is that investment is made in other local schools to create additional spaces and to which Theale children will have to travel.

West Berkshire Council is aware that a Parish Meeting has been called for Thursday 15 February to discuss the proposal for a new school.

Find questions and answers about our proposal to build a new school in Theale.