A NEW school worth over £21m has officially opened its doors to its first students.

Last Thursday, Deer Park School in Hedge End was officially opened by the Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Cynthia Garton.

Described as ‘state of the art’, the new secondary school cost £21.2m to build and welcomed its first cohort of 124 Year 7 students last month.

Funded by the Department for Education (DfE) as part of its National Free Schools Programme, the school is part of the Wildern Academy Trust and has been built on land owned by Hampshire County Council.

With a capacity for 1,050 students, the site includes a three-storey main building composed of 46 classrooms as well as a sports hall.

It also boasts a learning resource centre, science labs, art rooms, design and technology facilities and a music and drama space.

Guests at the opening included Hampshire County Council Leader, Cllr Keith Mans; County Council Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Roz Chadd; and representatives from the DfE.

Executive Head Teacher, Marie Lou Litton, described the school as “a truly wonderful learning environment that we know will continue to evolve and thrive year on year as new groups of students join us.”

Cllr Chadd added: “I am very excited to see Deer Park come to life as a school and recreation space for families settling into new homes which have been, and are being, built in the area.

“Schools should always be at the heart of a community, and this is even more important when a new village is evolving.”

The design of the buildings also includes environmental features such as a solar photovoltaic array on the roof, a rainwater harvesting system and ample covered cycle stores to encourage pupils to cycle to school.