Local MP visits site of Basingstoke's new school

Local MP, Maria Miller visited the site where construction of the new Basingstoke school, the Austen Academy is well underway. The school is located in Popley, on the site of the former Chineham Park Primary School.

Maria commented; “I was incredibly impressed with the design of the Austen Academy and the focus on ensuring that the structure and facilities are specifically designed to create the right learning environment for the pupils’ specialised needs. The school will be of great benefit to Basingstoke and will ensure that particularly vulnerable children have access to the right educational opportunities.”

The new school, to be called The Austen Academy, will cater for 125 children aged 5-16 who have social and communication difficulties. The school will enable children with special educational needs, to be able to access education in a setting specifically designed to lessen their feelings of anxiety and provide the best learning opportunities to meet their needs.

The Austen Academy, will be operated by the Catch 22 Academy Trust. Money for the new school was secured by the County Council after it made a successful bid to the DfE for a share of the national Free Schools funding offer. The building is anticipate to be completed by the end of the year with the school opening in spring 2021.

Maria met with Hampshire County Council Officers, Nick Yarrow, Head of Delivery and  Peter Colenutt, Assistant Director (Capital) children’s services, to discuss the plans. She was joined By Hampshire County Councillors Stephen Reid and Roz Chadd. Maria discussed and examined the plans for the school’s design and then toured the site.