FURIOUS parents have made an impassioned plea for education chiefs to scrap controversial proposals to merge two Hampshire schools.

Nearly 200 mums and dads packed into Quilley School in Eastleigh to challenge plans to merge it with Crestwood College two miles away.

In the first of a series of consultation meetings to decide whether both schools should join, Quilley parents branded the changes "a big experiment", fearing changes will disrupt their children's education and force many to travel further to school.

And it comes as Crestwood headteacher Krista Dawkins said if the schools are amalgamated into one it could eventually be relaunched with a new name.

As previously reported in the Daily Echo bosses want to close Quilley and for the site on Cherbourg Road to become part of Crestwood.

Hampshire County Council say falling pupil numbers at Quilley and poor exam results and performance for the past three years are behind its proposals - which are yet to be decided.

Crestwood College is rated as "good" in its latest Ofsted report.

But at the heated meeting many parents lashed out at the plans.

Daily Echo:

The most vocal included those with Year 6 pupils due to progress to secondary education, those with Year 9 children due to take GCSE’s and parents of children with special needs.

Mum-of-two Jo Jackson says the Year 6 cohort will suffer the most and told the meeting: “For those like my son going up to Year 7 it's going to be a big experiment. You don't know the name of the school or the curriculum.

“It's going to happen when my son is going to be education for the next five years. It might be okay for my daughter coming afterwards but what about him?”

Another mother, who did not give her name, with a child in Year 6 said it will put extra stress on families trying to sort out transport and said: “I will have to send my daughter three miles to somewhere she’s never been before.”

Another father added: "Happy family life is important and you are not going to have a happy kid walking half a mile in the rain. Why can’t you bring the teachers here? They have the vehicles.”

Crestwood headteacher Krista Dawkins said "creating stability" is key and said: "The most important thing is the children aren't guinea pigs."

She added: "We want is to have the good things that have happened at Quilley with the good things at Crestwood and merge them to create a stronger situation."

But she said they are considering changing the name and possibly the uniform but said: "We would like to involve parents and children in that."

Council children’s services manager Chris Holt said keeping Quilley with a very small cohort would be "difficult" to deliver the curriculum, but added that a decision has yet to be made.

As previously reported the move comes after the headteacher of Quilley School Chris McShane left his post just after the start of the academic year.

Although the details of the practicalities of working across both sites will be determined by the leadership team of the expanded school, the principal will be that no pupil will be required to travel between the two sites during the school day, say education bosses.

Education chiefs have said they will allow parents of children who listed Quilley as one of their preferred schools the opportunity to resubmit their application.

A second consultation meeting is due to be held tonight at Crestwood College.