Church school bid for Waterlooville housing estate

Praise for outstanding school

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THE CHURCH of England has made a bid to open a faith school on a new housing estate.

Berewood, which was formerly known as the West of Waterlooville development, has been earmarked for a new primary school.

Now Portsmouth’s Anglican diocese has unveiled plans to create a 420-place academy on the site to cater for four to 11-year-olds.

The school will open in September 2014 if the government gives it the go ahead.

Although it would be a Church of England School it will be open to the whole community and would not use faith as part of its admissions policy.

The diocese also wants to open a school in Whiteley next year where there is a dire need for more primary school places.

Havant councillor, Cyril Hilton, who sits on the West of Waterlooville development committee, said: ‘I think it’s a brilliant idea.

‘A new primary school is one of the most important things we need with all these new homes.

‘The schools in this area are going to get so full up.

‘It will be necessary to have their own school there.

‘I don’t care that it’s a faith school. I don’t care what the school is as long as there’s good teachers and it’s good for the children.

‘Like I said, it’s a brilliant idea.’

The diocese has carried out research among those already living in the new Berewood and Old Park Farm developments.

A total of 86 per cent were supportive or very supportive of the plans, and 84 per cent had no reservations about a Church of England faith ethos for the school.

The government will decide in December if the diocese can open the new school won the bid.

Local churches would also hope to employ an ecumenical community worker, who could point residents to the various existing churches of all denominations.

Portsmouth’s diocesan director of education Tony Blackshaw said: ‘We’re excited about the possibility of providing schools with a Christian ethos in these areas where they are really needed – not just to provide good education, but also to act as a focus for these communities.’