Whiteley primary school set to move into purpose-built home after three-year wait

AFTER more than seven years, a school in Whiteley is set to swap its ‘Lego kit’ temporary buildings for a new purpose-built facility.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 9:35 pm

Founded in 2013, Cornerstone Church of England Primary School was due to leave behind its temporary facilities in in Bader Way in September 2018.

But delays to the 3,500 home North Whiteley development – which the school is due to serve – meant that the move to its new site in Bluebell Way was pushed back.

Now, building work is close to complete and pupils are looking forward to the move being complete by July.

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Tim Clarke, headteacher of Cornerstone Church of England Primary School. Picture: Sarah Standing (250121-1534)

The new buildings will see the school grow from 192 children to more than 620, according to headteacher Tim Clarke.

He said: ‘With Whiteley looking to build 3,500 homes over the next 10 years, there will be a lot more families needing places.

‘It won't be going to 630 over the summer holidays. Each year, we will be opening a few new classes, dependent on need and conversations with Hampshire County Council.’

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Hampshire County Council has announced Cornerstone Church of England Primary School in Bader Way, Whiteley, is to move to a new purpose-built facility in September 2021. Picture: Sarah Standing (250121-1493)

Pupils will have 21 spacious classrooms, a learning hub with iPads, and two school halls – which will also provide a new home for Whiteley Church, currently holding services in the Whiteley Community Centre.

What will become of the school’s old site has yet to be confirmed, according to the headteacher.

He said: ‘Hampshire wants the land – I think it is likely that it will be sold for housing.

‘We’ve had other headteachers come in and ask about the old classrooms – I think they could be put to use elsewhere.’

Looking back at the school’s temporary home, he added: ‘The children have been very excited to see lots of class rooms in on cranes, it’s been like being in a big Lego kit.’

Teachers intend to take on the pupils’ ideas for how the new grounds should be developed – provoking some ambitious plans.

Mr Clarke said: ‘The things they tend to want is a swimming pool and a zip-wire.

‘We would definitely need some extra funding for those.’

The Bluebell Way site has been funded thanks to £67m from Hampshire County Council, in part of a push to provide more than 4,000 new school places by 2024.

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