CELEBRATIONS have been taking place in Whiteley as the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth officially opened a new school.
Cornerstone Church of England Primary School opened in September after high demand from parents.
The Rt Rev Christopher Foster led a blessing ceremony at the school, where pupils from Whiteley Primary, Sarisbury Infants and St Anthony’s Primary also joined in the celebrations.
Children sang songs and said prayers as part of the ceremony.
He said: ‘It is wonderful to be with you all today and with everyone who’s come to share this special day.
‘So many people played such an important part in the creation and building of this school.
‘We are here to celebrate the creation of a school which is made by its children and its staff and which serves its community.’
Headteacher Charlotte Weavers said: ‘For us as a school community and in particular for Whiteley it’s an enormous achievement.
‘The parents have been fighting for the school for several years.
‘For everyone who’s been involved to get it turned around in six months is incredible.
‘It’s really bringing the community together.
‘Everything we are doing, we are doing for the first time and the children are a part of that.
‘It’s lovely for them to have that opportunity to make a difference.’
Councillor Peter Edgar, executive member for education at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘I think it’s been a special occasion for everybody concerned.
‘What was so encouraging was the involvement from the children not only from the new school but from schools in the area. This is a very historic day for Whiteley.
‘The children have played their part in it.’
Bishop Christopher visited the classrooms to talk to the 32 pupils from Reception up to Year 2.
The school opened its doors to its first pupils following a lengthy campaign by parents to secure a new school in the area.
Whiteley Primary School had become heavily oversubscribed and parents were having to drive miles away to take their children to school.
The new building was built and furnished in five months, and staff and governors were recruited and places allocated in just eight months.
It is designed to be a temporary building for the next four or five years until the new 3,000 home development to the north of Whiteley is built, when it will move to a new location in the area.