A CONSULTATION has been launched to gather views on the proposed expansion of The Wellington Academy in Tidworth to accommodate returning service families.

As part of the Army Rebasing Programme 4,300 troops and their families will be relocated to areas around Salisbury Plain, which will mean some 1,200 children will need school provision.

Wellington College Academy Trust, of which the Wellington Academy is a member, and Wiltshire Council are seeking the public’s view on plans to expand the school from 1,050 to 1,350 places for pupils aged 11 to 16.

Drop-in events were held at the school on Monday.

Wellington College Academy Trust executive principal Dr Michael Milner said: “We support the principle of expansion.

"There are disadvantages as well as advantages to expansion.”

Advantages listed by the school include the creation of extra places for children living nearby, job creation, increased financial flexibility and resourcing for the school and multi-academy trust and new teaching facilities.

The disadvantages include the increase in school size, which the school says would happen incrementally over five years, and disruption during the build.

The proposed expansion would be funded by the Wiltshire Council’s Basic Need Capital Programme, the MOD/Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and section 106 funds from residential developments.

Land for the expansion of the site would be provided by the MOD/Defence Infrastructure Organisation adjacent to the existing site, which would be improved for extra playing field space and parking.

Extra teaching and non-teaching staff would also be recruited.

Wellington College Academy Trust will consider consultation responses and make a decision on whether to proceed in June.

If the plans get the go-ahead the expanded school would be running from September 2019 with 60 extra students in each age group.

Planning permission for the building works would also be needed.

To fill in the online survey go to wcat.org.uk/survey.

Alternatively, paper copies are available from the school reception.

The consultation deadline is midday on Friday, May 26.