In the County Council Division of West End and Hedge End Grange Park, there are three schools, St James Church of England Primary School, Berrywood Primary School and Wellstead Primary School, but the Division is also in the catchment area of Wildern Secondary School. It is expected that in the next 20 years, around 17,000 new homes will be built in Eastleigh, several thousand of which will likely be coming to West End. It has already been announced that a new Primary and Secondary school will be built near Burnetts Lane, that by 2025 could comprise a 3 form entry and 9 form entry respectively, totalling some 2,400 pupils.
- Wildern School has been full since 2015 and since it is an Academy, it was the Management Trust and not the Local Education Authority that needed to make the decision as to whether it would provide a temporary extension until the new school is built. In primary schools, it is a relatively simple matter of adding a temporary classroom, but at secondary level with the wider curriculum taught, it is complicated to provide a temporary extension. Nevertheless, this has now been authorized.
- Wellstead School is undergoing pressures with respect to pupil entrants as well and after undergoing a year with temporary classrooms has in 2016 expanded with purpose built new facilities by 2 Form Entries.
- St James Primary School is also undergoing the same pressures and will expand by 1 Form Entry by having seven new classrooms built by September 2017.
As part of the Chancellor’s Budget Speech on 16 March 2016, it was stated that it was the Government’s intention to make all schools Academies by 2020 and taking all schools out of County Council responsibility by 2022. Since then the Government has committed itself to increasing the number of Free schools and specifically Grammar schools. This means that in future there will no longer be LEA School Governors or LEAs.
Eastleigh Consortium of Schools and Colleges
In March 2016, I attended a Consortium of Eastleigh Schools Head Teachers at Eastleigh College where a number of questions of a political nature were raised. In addition to local head teachers, politicians including, Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council, Peter Edgar, Conservative Cabinet portfolio for education and Mims Davies , Conservative MP for Eastleigh This is the second such consortium and has been designed to inform local politicians of the effects of central government edicts on local education.
Much has changed in the period 2016 to 2017 and with one of those changes came the uncertainty of the location of Chalcroft School. Originally part of the Horton Heath/West End development plan it would have formed part of the “through School concept” combining a primary and secondary school,. However after the EU referendum in June 2016, there appears to be a problem. Fewer houses are being sold. This is important, because Government were not going to pay for the school construction costs, instead this would come from Developers Contributions, a sort of house building tax. It is critical that Chalcroft secondary school construction is started in 2019, so the County Council decided to move the school to its land in Woodhouse Lane, Botley. However, within weeks of this decision being made, Government changed its Prime Minister and its policy. There is now less emphasis on academisation and a commitment to creating “Free Schools” and encouraging the creation of grammar schools. All free schools will be directly funded by the Government. This means new school construction have now to fund directly the construction of Free Schools and the location of the “through School” could revert to the original plan. The calling of a snap election in June 2017 has held such decisions up further.