Our new school—FAQs, Information and Survey
"Our children deserve the best start in life—regardless of where they live or what their families can afford.
"As someone who was lucky enough to get a good education locally—at Hook Infants, Hook Juniors and Robert May's in Odiham—I am excited to promote a new secondary school that will give more local children that chance—and help improve other local schools too.
"If you agree that we need a new school, I would strongly urge you to complete my survey yourself—then share it with your friends and family."
Ranil Jayawardena, Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire
Our new school—key facts
The Borough of Rushmoor, the District of Hart and the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane stretch across north Hampshire. Comparing current schools across that area with our new school:
Demand: 26,080 new north Hampshire homes.
CAPACITY: we want a new secondary school with sixth form.
Development: 5+ A*-C including English and Maths GCSE results repeatedly below national average.
CURRICULUM: we want rigorous, academic GCSEs and A-Levels.
Delivery: currently 40 per cent rated Inadequate / Requires Improvement by Ofsted.
CHOICE: we want a school with no catchment area.
Discipline: ‘Persistent Absence’ rates twice the national average.
CULTURE: we want a Church of England ethos and values in our new, non-faith school.
Why do we need a new school?
- Demand: 26,080 new north Hampshire homes.
+ CAPACITY: we want a new secondary school with sixth form.
Over the next nine years, an estimated 76,000 new homes will be built across Hampshire—26,080 across north Hampshire—as local councils agree their strategies to meet local housing needs for the next generation. This increased housing must come with new infrastructure to meet the additional demand. Hampshire County Council pupil forecasts show an increase of 5,275 (8%) secondary school pupils by 2021 and an increase of 10,129 (15%) by 2022-23.
Analysis by concerned local residents shows that—even assuming all house building ceased back in 2016—the 2022/23 intake for Robert May’s School would be over capacity and the Fleet (Calthorpe Park and Court Moor) intake would be over also—this is even after accounting for the expansions already planned by Hampshire County Council. With schools in our area already operating at capacity, it is essential to get new provision to cope with future demand.
- Development: 5+ A*-C including English and Maths GCSE results repeatedly below national average.
+ CURRICULUM: we want rigorous, academic GCSEs and A-Levels.
Despite north Hampshire having higher than average earnings, lower unemployment, and longer life expectancy, mean achievement rates for 5+ A*-C or equivalents including A*-C in both English and Mathematics GCSEs have been repeatedly lower than the England average for state funded secondary schools.
Further, only 6 of the 18 have Progress 8 scores at or above the national average—so we can do better. Progress 8 is HM Government’s new methodology for measuring pupil progress, by comparing progress to that of pupils with similar academic starting positions in other secondary schools. It measures how well each pupil has done based on where they started, rather than just looking at what grades they secured, important though that is.
- Delivery: currently 40 per cent rated Inadequate / Requires Improvement by Ofsted.
+ CHOICE: we want a school with no catchment area.
Further, while many local schools deliver good outcomes for children across our area, sadly there are still some schools in north Hampshire which are not delivering for the next generation.
At their last Ofsted inspection, over 40% of the schools were classed ‘Requires Improvement’ or were ‘Inadequate’.
Anyone from across the area could apply to our new school, creating real parental choice.
- Discipline: ‘Persistent Absence’ rates twice the national average.
+ CULTURE: we want a Church of England ethos and values in our new, non-faith school.
Looking at local state secondary schools in the Local Authority districts of Hart, Rushmoor and Basingstoke and Deane, the average ‘Persistent Absence’ rate was twice the national average. Only 2 out of 18 of the schools had ‘Persistent Absence’ rates below the national average, with half having rates more than twice as high.
We believe that this needs to be tackled in a school focused on academic rigour—which would force other local schools to look again by competition, but would support other schools in the area on their journey to improve through sharing ideas and best practise also.
What will our new school's ethos be?
We aim to drive aspiration and are committed to enhancing social mobility through offering new opportunities. We aim to be an academic school, an inspiring and enjoyable place of learning and scholarship for pupils aged 11-18. We aim to provide teaching that is rigorous, challenging and intellectually engaging.
We will work within current rules to deliver an academically rigorous education, offering core, academic GCSEs and A-Levels. All students would be encouraged to exceed the requirements of the English Baccalaureate (English; mathematics; the sciences; history or geography; a language) through, for instance, (a) three plus sciences, (b) English language, English literature, Latin and drama, or (c) mathematics, additional mathematics and statistics.
Our rationale is based on local need and the need to raise aspiration. Our vision is positive with aspiration and social mobility at its heart—a true meritocracy, which recognises social disadvantage and aims to break down barriers. A school where aptitude, ability and attitude are valued, nurtured and strengthened, focused on driving aspiration locally. As the school will have no prescribed catchment area, pupil achievement will not force parents to move house, nor discriminate against those who cannot afford to.
We aim to be an effective community where pupils learn the importance of integrity. We aim to support pupils in developing resilience and skills to meet the challenges of life. We aim to provide the setting where the skills of friendship are developed and the importance of community recognised through participation in a wide range of activities.
While not a Church school, the school will follow Christian values and include Pastoral support and moral leadership from Church of England Bishops and others.
The school will be a good neighbour, sharing its successes to build a licence to operate with other schools in the area to help them improve and vice versa—everyone succeeding together and driving all to higher standards through collaboration.
Reading School—one of Britain's best schools—are voluntarily assisting us in this project. They tell us that the very best teachers want to teach A-Levels, as well as GCSEs—so schools with a sixth form find it quicker and easier to attract the best teachers from across the country. Better resources—for example advanced science laboratories—are available for pupils in Years 7-11 (as a bonus) where a school requires them for sixth form teaching also. Finally, a sixth form can attract more funding—the 16-19 Advanced Maths Premium, for example—which could help recruit new teachers from outside our area.
Who is involved in our new school?
The campaign for a new school is being coordinated by Ranil Jayawardena, Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire, along with teachers, academics, major employers and community leaders who are joining us for the journey. Amongst others, these include the Bishop of Basingstoke, Reading School and local Councillors.