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Extra 9,000 places needed at Hampshire's schools by 2016
HAMPSHIRE needs an extra 9,000 school places by 2016, county education chiefs have warned.
And the equivalent of 20 new primary schools will be required costing £200m.
Winchester city is one of the areas facing a squeeze on places fuelled by a rising birth rate, house building and families moving to the area.
Ministers have handed the county council £31m to ease the pressure on places.
Speaking at a public meeting in The Westgate School county education boss Councillor Roy Perry, said the authority has added £30m from its funds and is seeking contributions from housing developers to plug the shortfall.
Under the council’s school places plans until 2015 two or three new primary schools in Hedge End, three or four in Fareham and two primary schools and one secondary in north Whiteley are planned.
In Winchester city, the local authority admitted there was a shortage of places but was silent on a solution. The only new primary school was proposed at Barton Farm.
After a backlash from headteachers at oversubscribed schools and city councillors, a separate consultation was launched.
Now the council is proposing to tackle the shortage by either building a £10m two-form entry primary school on the site of a boarding house at The Westgate School, or permanent expansion of five primary schools at a cost of £11m.
Under one option The Westgate would become the first county-run school for pupils aged four to 16. Doors would open to the first reception pupils in 2014.
But under the alternative proposal primaries at Western in Fulflood, Winnall, All Saints in Highcliffe, Harestock, and St Peter’s Catholic in Oliver’s Battery would be expanded to provide an extra 74 reception places in September 2012 and 2013.
Winchester MP Steve Brine said neither option was ideal but the new primary at The Westgate appeared to be the “front runner.”
But the Tory MP has set up a small committee to look into the idea of setting up a free school in Winchester.
The Winchester consultation ends on June 15 with Cllr Perry expected to make a final decision on July 17.
The consultation on the School Places Plan 2011-15 ended on March 31.