A NEW free school set up to provide A-level provision in Fareham has been delayed until 2018.
The town’s MP Suella Fernandes has set up a working group with Cams Hill School’s headteacher Gwennan Harrison-Jones to work with headteachers across the Fareham area on bringing forward a plan for a new 500-student school.
The school’s location is yet to be identified but, according to Miss Fernandes, a proposal will be ready to submit to the Department for Education by the end of the year, with September 2018 earmarked as an opening date, despite the group previously targeting 2017 as an initial start date.
She told The News: ‘We hope to get the school up and running by 2018.
‘What we are now doing is to identify the structure the school will take, whether it will be an academy or a free school and to lay out a curriculum.’
The school would be the only one in the borough to offer A-levels after Fareham College dropped them in 2013 due to low numbers.
Around 2,000 people leave the borough every day to study A-levels in Gosport, Winchester and Eastleigh with some not arriving home until as late as 10pm.
Miss Fernandes added: ‘I have met students who get home at 10pm due to the lack of A-level provision here.
‘It’s clear to me that there is a demand here.
‘This is all about balancing out the opportunities afforded for young people.’
Ms Harrison-Jones said: ‘I am very keen for my pupils to have the option to study a-levels. We are very keen on working with other headteachers across the borough to provide A-levels.’
‘We are scoping sites at the moment but we need time to get it right.’
The group is targeting around 250 students for each year and are expecting to fill that allocation.
Sean Woodward, executive leader of Fareham Borough Council said: ‘It will take a significant amount of work to make this new school happen and to have Suella on board for it should help us stand in good stead to achieve these aims.’
Miss Fernandes had previously helped set up a free school in Wembley, London called Michaela Community School back in 2014.