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Delight as new school opens
PARENTS who spearheaded a campaign for a new Hampshire school finally saw the fruit of their efforts.
The new Cornerstone CofE Primary School in Whiteley opened its doors for the first time, welcoming its first wave of 34 pupils.
This was the result of years of work by parents and campaigners to secure the new school.
County council planning chiefs backed the £2.2m temporary schoo,l which provides places for 210 children, back in March.
The school serves four, five and sixyear- olds in the new building, off Leafy Lane, which has been built and furnished in five months.
Staff and governors have been recruited, school places allocated and a smart new purple uniform designed and made in just eight months.
The school includes four classrooms, a hall big enough for 210 pupils, a library, staff room, offices and an outside play area.
Contractors are still working on a playground and playing fields.
Chairman of governors Andrew Saunders said: “The moment the first children walked in was quite emotional. It was a long-held dream come true.”
The site had previously been earmarked for housing, but council officers told how there was an “urgent and immediate” need for the school.
Some 350 children per day were being driven out of the estate to schools in Fareham because the existing three-form entry primary in Whiteley was massively oversubscribed.
An attempt was made to build a school in 2006, but Winchester City Council refused to release the land it owned.
A group of parents then attempted to set up a free school, but failed to win Government approval.
The new school is designed to be a temporary building for the next four or five years.
Longer term, the school will transfer to new permanent buildings in North Whiteley as part of a major new housing development.
Until then, the number of children taught there will increase each year as new pupils start in reception.
Plans have already been agreed for three new classrooms to be added to the building when they are needed.
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