Excitement at prospect of new Whiteley school

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FAMILIES living in Whiteley have spoken at their joy of a new school opening in the town next year.

With the existing Whiteley Primary School continually oversubscribed, families have faced lengthy rush-hour commutes to schools on the other side of the M27 in Locks Heath and Titchfield.

But Portsmouth diocese’s education team is set to open a new C of E primary on a temporary site between Leafy Lane and Lady Betty’s Drive from next September.

The plan is to start with a class of 30 four-year-olds in September 2013, and perhaps some five-year-olds, and to admit 30 new pupils each year until the school is full.

Ultimately, it would move to North Whiteley where 3,000 new homes will be built in the next few years.

Joline Murray has a four-year-old daughter Lucy who is due to start school next year. She said: ‘I’ve set my heart on it opening.

‘I live and work in Whiteley, so it’s so much more convenient to take her to school here. The other schools are not far away, but it takes so much time to get there because of the traffic.’

Laura Poustie, mum to Niamh, three, and Lewis, one, said: ‘Niamh will be going to school in September 2014, and we’ve got the figures to show that’s a bumper year across the whole of this part of Hampshire. The need for the school is huge, and it’s brilliant that we’re going to have a school here.

‘The site might not be ideal, but it’s only temporary, and the new permanent site will be better. The alternative is not just having to go out of Whiteley, but also that your children might not end up at the same school, which means you start having to put them in breakfast clubs and after-school clubs.’

And Alison Allwood, mum to William, 2, and two-month-old Emily, said: ‘We want our children to be going to a school where they live, where they can walk to school and go with their friends.

‘My friend takes an hour to get to St John the Baptist Primary in Hunts Pond Road and back every day.’

The diocesan board of education has approved plans and issued a public notice.

It still needs final approval from Hampshire County Council before it can be built. A final decision is expected in January.