Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Hampshire children benefit from new £23million classroom builds

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Nine Hampshire schools are set to share in just under £23million worth of new high quality learning spaces as part of a major investment package agreed by Hampshire County Council.

Infant and junior schools in Farnborough, Basingstoke and Andover will have new classrooms built to provide quality education for their growing populations, while in Basingstoke new primary school places will be provided and pupils in Fareham will say goodbye to their modular classrooms. An education centre in the New Forest for children who are unable to attend mainstream education will also be replaced.

The County Council's Buildings, Land and Procurement Panel supported the project proposals today (18 March), recommending all six schemes to the Executive Member for Policy and Resources, Council Leader Roy Perry. He is due to make the final decisions on 10 April.

These latest schemes are part of the massive £147million capital investment planned to create up to 8,000 new school places by 2016, which will ensure there is a space for every child in Hampshire to meet the huge increase in demand. Demand is growing, and it's due not just to an increase in the birth rate, but also to new housing developments and more families attracted into Hampshire.

Funding is made up of Government grant, developer contributions and the County Council's own resources. This group of projects is part of the largest Children's Services capital investment for many years, creating new school places across Hampshire. It will also provide a big boost for the local economy through jobs in the construction industry.

The Chairman of the Panel, Councillor Mel Kendal, who is the Executive Member for Income and Capital Receipts, said: "The success of our capital allocation from Government is, we believe, down to our excellent track record of working in partnership with our schools, Children's Services and Property Services all working together to offer the best solutions that deliver excellent learning and teaching environments.

"Hampshire has a national reputation for its school buildings and these new classrooms will be low maintenance, and built with the latest energy saving efficiencies so that more of the schools' budgets can go into teaching and learning."

Councillor Peter Edgar, the Executive Member for Education, said: "This is very good news for schools and children. We're working hard to increase capacity at primary schools in areas where demand is greatest, ensuring there is sufficient provision for young families who move into the area. Our success is demonstrated by the fact that we were able to offer 98 per cent of families a place at one of their preferred primary schools in the last admissions round. When I visited schools in Romsey, Eastleigh and Winchester a few months ago where work was underway to ensure they could meet rising demand from September, I was struck by the enthusiasm that the school communities had for their expansions and improvements, and I am confident these new buildings will be equally inspiring."

The latest schools to benefit are:

South Farnborough Junior School - £1.6million
A four classroom extension that will increase the school's capacity from 240 to 360 places.

Merton Infant and Junior Schools, Basingstoke - £4.4million
A three classroom extension, studio and resource area and internal remodelling to the infant school and a four classroom extension, studio and enlarged staff areas to the junior school, increasing capacity across the two schools by 210 places.

Vigo Infant and Junior Schools, Andover - £2.5million
A three classroom extension to the Infant school, and a two classroom extension to the junior school, giving a combined capacity of 630 spaces.

Castle Hill Junior School, Rooksdown site, Basingstoke - £6.6million
A new 210 place primary school in Rooksdown, which will form part of Castle Hill Junior School.

Locks Heath Infant and Junior Schools, Fareham - £3.2million
The replacement of temporary accommodation with permanent classrooms with two single storey extensions to the infant school, and a four classroom extension and a learning hub to the junior school.

Forest Education Centre - Dibden Purlieu - £4.6million
Replacement of the centre's modular accommodation with a permanent building, including eight classrooms and four specialist classrooms for science, design technology and food technology.

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