Henry Cort Community College could close or move as part of plans to build a new secondary school in Whiteley

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A Fareham secondary school could close or relocate as part of plans to build another new secondary school in Whiteley leading to a surplus of school places.

The Henry Cort Community CollegeThe Henry Cort Community College
The Henry Cort Community College

Proposals have been put forward for a new 900 place secondary school in North Whiteley which, subject to planning consent, could provide 900 places from September 2027. This is to meet the needs of the growing area which has already seen 2,000 homes built, with a further 3,500 in the pipeline for the north of the settlement. Forecasts show that this will result in demand for between 900 and 1,200 secondary school places in the Whiteley area, once the development is complete.

The Whiteley area currently falls under the catchment area of The Henry Cort Community College in Hillson Drive, on the other side of the M27, which caters for six classes per year. The construction of the new much-needed Whiteley school would throw its future into doubt.

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Hampshire County Council has said that while current and future pupil numbers indicate a clear need for further secondary provision in the area, the continued operation of both The Henry Cort Community College and the proposed new secondary school in North Whiteley would likely lead to surplus secondary school places across Fareham, with almost 450 excess places anticipated by 2030/31.

It said that the significant surplus places can have a direct impact on the viability of schools and has outlined three potential options to reduce the impact of the proposed new secondary school on existing schools.

These involve building the new North Whiteley Secondary School as an academy, catering for six classes in each year group, and either keeping The Henry Cort Community College open but with a smaller catchment area - or closing the school altogether. Another option is to relocate The Henry Cort Community College to the new North Whiteley Secondary School site.

A recommendation to consult on these options will be put to Councillor Edward Heron, the County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, at his upcoming Decision Day on Tuesday, March 26. Detailed information explaining the rationale and potential impact of each option would be provided, should a decision be taken to proceed to a public consultation.  

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All three options would require a statutory consultation to be undertaken, in addition to the public consultation due to be considered by Councillor Heron, and would entail various changes to catchment areas, school transport, and arrangements for primary schools linked to secondary schools in the local area.

Should Councillor Heron agree to a public consultation on the three options, this would run from March 29 2024 to May 31 2024. A report setting out the responses to the consultation and recommended next steps, including appropriate statutory processes, would be presented at a Decision Day later this year.

The building of the new school in Whiteley would be designed with potential to expand to eight classes per year, or 1,200 pupils in total, subject to future local demand. If approved, the new building would be fully funded by developer contributions and the Department for Education.

Visit the county council’s website for full details of the recommendation to consult.

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