Parents told bid to open new Whiteley school could be restarted

WORRIED Louise Poustie, 31, with her children Niamh, two, and Lewis, eight months old.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121680-2922)
WORRIED Louise Poustie, 31, with her children Niamh, two, and Lewis, eight months old. Picture: Sarah Standing (121680-2922)
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PARENTS have been reassured that plans for a new school in Whiteley can be submitted provided they get behind the bid.

More than 80 people went to Whiteley Primary School for a meeting about children’s school places in the area last night.

It comes as the school was oversubscribed by 30 places for the coming school year – a problem which has occurred frequently over the past few years.

A bid was submitted to the Department of Education for a free school in Whiteley earlier this year, but it was unsuccessful, partly because it didn’t demonstrate enough the need in the area.

Andrew Saunders, a father-of-four who has lived in Whiteley for the past eight years, led the campaign.

He said: ‘I believe that we have a very exciting vision for an innovative and creative school.

‘I would love to carry on working on this but I can’t do it until I have parental backing and demand.

‘We need to show that in the first two years it would be 100 per cent full.’

Meanwhile, parents have been assured that schools in the surrounding area are going to be expanded as a temporary solution to the problem.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, added: ‘Andrew has done a tremendous amount of work.

‘The one major issue was the parental support.

‘Hopefully this sort of meeting is going to generate that positive need for support.’

Parents also raised concerns about transport to schools around the area and road closures, and about siblings getting into the same school.

Mum-of-two Laura Poustie, 31, from Coleridge Drive in Whiteley, helped organise the meeting.

She said: ‘Whiteley Primary School doesn’t have enough space for the number of children in Whiteley.

‘For the past five or six years it has been oversubscribed by up to 40 families each year.

‘The birth rate in Whiteley is increasing so it’s set to get worse.

‘My children could go to completely different schools.

‘Some parents would have to drop off one child at one school and one at another before nine o’clock in the morning.

‘The thought of my kids going to separate schools fills me with fear.

‘Not just getting them there but also the children would be having different levels of education.

‘They would grow up differently and have different friendship groups.

‘They might be in different catchment areas for secondary schools.’