New Whiteley primary school Cornerstone will also serve as Hope Church

WORSHIP and education have been brought under one roof at a new building in Whiteley.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 2:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 2:50 pm

On Tuesday, September 7, Bishop Rob Wickham opened the new Cornerstone C of E Primary School building in Bluebell Way, Whiteley.

The £12m project has seen the school move from its old grounds in Bader Way and enlarged to cater for thousands of families who will move into new homes in north Whiteley over the next few years.

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Bishop Rob Wickham with youngsters attending Cornerstone C of E Primary School. Picture: Neil Pugmire

The building will also become the new home for Whiteley Church and provide a reflective space for the wider community. The church has met for Sunday services, first in people’s homes and then in Whiteley community centre, since its creation in 1995, but has never had a space of its own.

Headteacher Tim Clarke said: ‘We have worked in a close and constructive partnership with colleagues from Hampshire to develop a purpose-built, modern and flexible environment, focused fully on enhancing teaching and learning and empowering our children to grow as people and learners.

‘We’re delighted to use these excellent, modern facilities to continue this development, and we are all excited to continue to grow our Inspirational Learning Community with all the children, families, staff and governors over the coming years.’

Building work began in May last year, once Covid-19 restrictions had been eased, with Midas Construction taking the reins.

Scenes from the opening of Cornerstone Primary School in Whiteley

The original Cornerstone C of E Primary School was opened in 2013, with Whiteley Church established in 1995.

The Rev Philippa Mills, who is also a school governor, said: ‘This is a really exciting moment for the whole Whiteley community.

‘This building will become the heart of the new community of north Whiteley, and I’m delighted that both church and school will meet in the same place, as families will be very used to meeting here.

‘Whiteley has had a long wait for a dedicated church space. This joint venture will give both the school and the wider community a prayerful, reflective place, as well as providing a home for Hope Church.

Scenes from the opening of Cornerstone Primary School in Whiteley

‘We’ve taken this moment to change our name to something that I pray will reflect this growing community – that our church can be a beacon of hope, providing a genuine welcome for those moving into this new development, drawing the existing and new communities together.’

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Scenes from the opening of Cornerstone Primary School in Whiteley