ONE in five parents in Whiteley say they would sell their home and move out of the area to ensure their children can be educated close to home.

The figures have been disclosed after more than 400 people were questioned about the growing problem of a shortage of school places. Many youngsters have been refused entry to Whiteley Primary next year.

The survey by Fareham MP Mark Hoban and council leader Sean Woodward was carried out to get up-to-date views from parents for submission to Hampshire County Council which is reviewing the crisis.

Cllr Woodward said the 20 per cent figure was worrying: "The message is that parents are not concerned about the quality of primary education but the shortage of it. There are no surprises there. But now a significant number of parents are saying they are willing to move house to make sure their children get into what they view as appropriate primary schools."

He said the survey also highlighted another problem - that parents appeared to be taking their children out of Whiteley Primary and moving away to be nearer secondary schools, rather than send their children on a ten-mile round trip.

Cllr Woodward said: "Whiteley Primary, which has a queue of parents trying to get children into the reception class, interestingly has some spaces in classrooms in the older years."

This was because parents were not happy sending their children to Henry Cort Community School, the nearest secondary school, as it is too far away.

Steve Collinson, of Camargue Close, whose son was refused entry to Whiteley Primary this year, said moving away was something he would consider if necessary.

He said: "Our son has been given a place at Locks Heath Infant School now but it may be that our youngest son won't get in later unless we live in the area so if we had to we would move. That is definitely our priority."

The survey findings will be passed on to education chiefs at Hampshire County Council who are currently carrying out a consultation of their own into the crisis.

County council leader, Ken Thornber, said he welcomed the "useful information" which could be used alongside their own current consultation into the problem: "We would be foolish not to take this into account in our consultation to resolve the schools shortage. It disturbs me that parents are considering leaving the area."