Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop to pray over foundations of new school

    20 Aug. 2020

    THE Bishop of Portsmouth will pray over the foundations of a new school being built in Whiteley.

    The Rt Rev Christopher Foster will help to lay the spiritual foundations of the new Cornerstone C of E Primary School, which is being created to cater for thousands of families who will move into the area.

    The school is being relocated to north Whiteley and enlarged so it can teach up to 630 pupils aged four to 11. That’s to cater for families who will move into the 3,500 new homes expected to be built in north Whiteley over the next few years.

    Work started earlier this year on the foundations of the new £12m school building, which has been designed by Hampshire County Council’s award-winning property services team, and will also incorporate a chapel space for Whiteley Church. Construction work was allowed to start in May as lockdown restrictions were lifted.

    The vicar of Whiteley, the Rev Philippa Mills, asked Bishop Christopher to read from the Bible and pray at the point when the foundations were in place. He will be joined by school staff, governors and local dignitaries on the site at 5pm on August 25.

    Philippa said: “I felt for some time that it would be good to organise a prayer for the foundations of Cornerstone C of E Primary School and the chapel, particularly bearing in mind that the school’s name reflects the fact that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith.

    “The school’s Christian ethos has played a big part in its success since it was first opened in Bader Way in 2013, and it is definitely worth celebrating. We are also very excited about the chapel. This will give Whiteley Church a permanent base and will benefit the school and the wider community by providing a reflective space open to all.

    “The site is COVID-19 secure, so we are restricted to being there after the workforce has gone home. But the symbolism of praying for the spiritual foundations of the school while the physical foundations are still being built is important to us all.”

    Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, Councillor Roz Chadd, said: “I am very pleased to be invited to join Reverend Philippa and Bishop Christopher in prayer for the new school facilities we are delivering for Cornerstone Church of England Primary School. I am delighted with the high quality, innovative and sustainable design of the new building that is seen in all the new schools and school expansions we are delivering across the county.”

    Building work at the new site on Bluebell Way, Whiteley is set to be completed by summer 2021, allowing the school to relocate and start lessons from September 2021. Much of the work until autumn 2020 is likely to be groundworks, but from then, the building should start to take shape.

    The single-storey building will include 21 classrooms, four group rooms, large and small school halls, a studio, a food technology room, and more. The outdoor facilities will include three sports courts and three sports pitches.

    Bishop Christopher formally opened Cornerstone C of E Primary School in autumn 2013 in its current temporary location in Bader Way.

    Whiteley Church started meeting in people’s homes in 1995 and more recently has met in Whiteley Community Centre each Sunday. This will be the first time it has had a permanent home.

    Whiteley Church

    We meet in in the hall at the Whiteley Community Centre Gull Coppice Whiteley Fareham, PO15 7LA

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