Olympian opens new school in Fareham

Ofsted labels Southsea school ‘outstanding’ in new report

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HE’S an Olympian who has sailed round the world twice and now Ian Walker has officially opened a new boys’ school.

The double Olympic silver medallist paid a visit to Wykeham House School in Fareham. Until September it had been a girls only school.

Champion yachtsman Ian Walker opens the new junior boys school at Wykeham House. (left to right), Oliver Covell (eight), Oliver Snow (eight), and George Lloyd (eight).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132771-1)

Champion yachtsman Ian Walker opens the new junior boys school at Wykeham House. (left to right), Oliver Covell (eight), Oliver Snow (eight), and George Lloyd (eight).'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132771-1)

But after high parental demand, a boys school has been opened on the site. Yesterday, Ian officially cut the ribbon and helped cut the cake to mark the occasion.

Ian, who has two daughters at the school, said: ‘There are a lot of parents who have girls and boys and would like the convenience of having boys at the same school as the girls.

‘It’s a fantastic school. It’s a very caring, small school.

‘I think it will be a very positive thing for the girls. One thing you worry about is the girls not having enough interaction with the boys. So socially it will be a big benefit.’

As part of the visit, Ian spoke to the boys about his career and what he has achieved in his two round-the-world trips. And he said he hopes he has inspired the schools’ newest pupils.

‘I remember people coming to my school to talk about things and I am fortunate to do something that’s quite unusual and it’s fun for me to share that with other people,’ he said.

‘If that encourages one of them to do something they wouldn’t otherwise have done then it’s worth it.’

Paul Jones, chairman of trustees at the school, said the decision was made to open the boys school after a demand locally.

‘With the emergence of the birth rate in the country we could see that there were advantages with the reduction in girls and the increase in boys,’ he said.

‘We really wanted to have and keep the two schools totally separate which is our ethos.

‘We are really quite excited about having a boys’ school. The interesting thing about is it we are totally a separate boys’ and girls’ school and I don’t think there is any other in the county.’

Headteacher Lynn Clarke, said: ‘We are reacting to parents wishes to drop their son and daughter at the same school but to be educated separately.

‘I’ve had that request from many parents.’