In signalling the start of construction, Councillor Mans was joined on site by fellow Cabinet Member – for Education and Skills, Councillor Roz Chadd and other local councillors, together with the Wildern Multi Academy Trust Chair, Glenda Lane and Executive Headteacher, Marie Lou Litton.
Councillor Mans said: “I am so pleased to see that work on the new school is now getting underway. I am conscious that this has been some years in the planning and that a great deal of thought and effort goes on behind the scenes to arrive at this point. Being able to work on behalf of the Department for Education and, in partnership with the Wildern Multi-Academy Trust has been invaluable in delivering a new school for the area that will help to meet the growing demand for places.”
Welcoming the start of building work, Marie Lou Litton, Executive Headteacher, said: “The Trust is delighted that work had finally begun on Deer Park school. Our commitment to serving our local area has been a key driver for the Trust. Our principle aim will be to provide an outstanding learning experience for each child within our growing community. Our ambition will be to focus on achievement for all and high-quality teaching in a stimulating environment.”
Executive Member for Education and Skills at the County Council, Councillor Chadd added: “We are very lucky in this county to have high quality education facilities and I have every confidence that this new school will be no exception. This new free school will be a welcome addition to Hampshire’s family of schools.”
She continued: “Where possible, we are committed to providing every child in Hampshire with a local school place. Our strong track record in school place planning, working with the Department for Education (DfE), borough and district authorities as well as developers and other partners, makes an enormous contribution to ensuring Hampshire children can go to school near to where they live, as far as possible.”
Deer Park School is being built to meet a pressure for school places for 11 to 16-year olds. The new school will meet demand from existing, as well as new homes in the Botley and Hedge End areas. Set to open in September 2021, it will have capacity for 210 pupils in Year 7 with a total capacity for 1,050 when complete.
The County Council is delivering the school on behalf of the DfE as part of the national Free Schools programme. This includes responsibility for overseeing the school’s design and construction by the contractor, Kier. The new school will be operated by Wildern Multi Academy Trust which was appointed, by the Secretary of State for Education, to be the school’s sponsor.