Hard work pays off as new school gets the go-ahead

Youngsters at Manor Infant School and Nursery celebrate with headteacher Ashley Howard, centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Infant school rated ‘good’ four years after being placed into special measures

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IT’S been a long battle but a new primary school looks set to finally open in Whiteley.

For a number of years 50 children every year were unable to get into Whiteley Primary School because it was oversubscribed.

Now, councillors at Hampshire County Council have given the green light for a new temporary school for 210 pupils to open off Lady Betty’s Drive.

And at the meeting yesterday, it was announced that the plans will include 22 car parking spaces for staff and 26 spaces on site for parents to drop off and pick up their children.

It came as local residents had expressed concerns about the impact that a new school could have on traffic.

County councillor Sean Woodward, said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic.

‘It means that the unfairness of the Whiteley children being forced out of Whiteley for school will be done from September.

‘It’s incredibly valuable in terms of community cohesion.’

Many parents have been campaigning for years for a new school, with many being forced to take their children to schools miles away.

Mum-of-two Laura Poustie, who approached Cllr Woodward about the issue last year, said: ‘One of the reasons we moved to Whiteley was so that we could raise a family in a lovely environment.

‘We have a situation arising where some siblings are sent to different schools within the borough.’

Andrew Saunders, chairman of the temporary governing body for the new school, said: ‘We have been working for six years to get a solution to the lack of education for the children of Whiteley.

‘It seems to me that this proposal is the best opportunity we have to get a school up and running.

‘We are aware it’s not the best possible location however we have worked extremely hard to find an alternative.’

After the meeting Mr Saunders added: ‘I am completely elated. We have worked so hard for so long for this.

‘The children and their families have been let down so many times.

‘Finally we have got a solution.

‘It’s all systems go now. We now can do the hard work with a spring in our step because we know it’s going to happen.

‘It’s a new era for Whiteley.’

Building work will start within the next few months, with the school set to open in September.