Public consultation to be requested on future education offer for children in Whiteley and Fareham

Local residents could soon be asked to give their views on potential options for the future of secondary education in Whiteley and Fareham. It follows proposals for a new secondary school in North Whiteley which, subject to planning consent, could provide 900 places from September 2027

Mar 18 2024

The extensive development of the Whiteley area has already seen some 2,000 homes built, with a further 3,500 in the pipeline for the north of the settlement, 1,000 of which are already occupied. Forecasts show that this will result in demand for between 900 and 1,200 secondary school places in the Whiteley area, once the development is complete. The proposed new secondary school would therefore serve the whole of Whiteley, catering for six classes in each year group, or 900 pupils in total. The building would be designed with potential to expand to eight classes per year, or 1,200 pupils in total, subject to future local demand. If approved, the new building would be fully funded by developer contributions and the Department for Education.

The Whiteley area, including the North Whiteley development, currently falls under the catchment area of The Henry Cort Community College, which also caters for six classes per year. While current and future pupil numbers indicate a clear need for further secondary provision in the area, the continued operation of both The Henry Cort Community College and the proposed new secondary school in North Whiteley would likely lead to surplus secondary school places across Fareham, with almost 450 excess places anticipated by 2030/31.

For many reasons, significant surplus places can have a direct impact on the viability of schools. Hampshire County Council has therefore outlined three potential options to reduce the impact of the proposed new secondary school on existing schools. These involve building the new North Whiteley Secondary School as an academy and either keeping The Henry Cort Community College open but with a smaller catchment area or closing the school; or alternatively relocating The Henry Cort Community College to the new North Whiteley Secondary School site.

A recommendation to consult on these options will be put to Councillor Edward Heron, the County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, at his upcoming Decision Day on Tuesday, 26 March. Detailed information explaining the rationale and potential impact of each option would be provided, should a decision be taken to proceed to a public consultation.  

All three options would require a statutory consultation to be undertaken, in addition to the public consultation due to be considered by Councillor Heron, and would entail various changes to catchment areas, School Transport, and arrangements for primary schools linked to secondary schools in the local area.

Should Councillor Heron agree to a public consultation on the three options, this would run from 29 March 2024 to 31 May 2024. A report setting out the responses to the consultation and recommended next steps, including appropriate statutory processes, would be presented at a Decision Day later this year.

Visit the County Council’s website for full details of the recommendation to consult.