Parents fear plan to put ‘troubled teens’ in Gosport school

'MORAL DUTY' Headteacher June Kershaw defends plans for a centre for excluded children.  Picture: Sarah Standing (120235-3530)
'MORAL DUTY' Headteacher June Kershaw defends plans for a centre for excluded children. Picture: Sarah Standing (120235-3530)
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ANGRY parents have launched an online petition against plans for a centre for troubled teenagers at their children’s primary school.

Dozens of people have signed the Facebook protest opposing plans to relocate Quayside Education Centre from St Vincent College to Woodcot Primary in Gosport, which they fear could put their children at risk.

But Woodcot’s head June Kershaw insists the centre, which is proposed to be built on the playground, will be sealed off from the primary pupils.

Karen Headley, 44, whose children Melissa, 10, and Danielle, seven, attend Woodcot, has demanded a meeting to discuss the proposals ahead of the consultation deadline on February 6.

She said: ‘Our kids deserve to be able to go to a school and learn in a comfortable and safe setting.

‘The school’s been dishonest about this application.

‘We received a letter telling us a unit would be built for vulnerable children.

‘There was no mention that four classrooms were for children who had or were on the verge of being excluded from secondary schools.

‘We’ve got a pre-school here with children as young as two. We want a clearer idea of who they are inviting into a primary school setting.’

Ali Taylor, 41, said she would consider pulling her eight-year-old girl out of the school if the plans go ahead.

She said: ‘It’s inappropriate and it will compromise the quality of the school.

‘I don’t want my daughter exposed to the language and behaviour of the older kids.’

Local councillor Dennis Wright has been contacted by several parents and residents who oppose the plans.

He said: ‘There is not only the concern that primary kids will be mixing with the older students but local residents feel they are going to be disrupted by the behavioural problems.

‘This is wrong. This unit, if it needs to be relocated should be moved to a secondary school site.’

The development, applied for by Hampshire County Council, will cost £4m, and Woodcot would receive £250,000 for refurbishments.

Mrs Kershaw said: ‘If I thought the centre would put our children at risk I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

‘There is absolutely no chance that children will mix. Students at the centre will only be able to use the multi-purpose playground outside of primary school hours.’

She added: ‘My vision is not just for this school – we have a moral duty to the wider community.

‘Quayside has been based in inadequate wooden huts for the last 13 years, which is the only thing that stopped them being rated outstanding by Ofsted. We should be celebrating this move, not denigrating it.’