THE headteacher of a major Andover school has said he has “no concerns” about student numbers after figures revealed the school is only half full.

A Hampshire County Council document has shown Winton Community Academy currently has a participation rate of around 55 per cent.

But the academy’s head teacher, Nathan Thomas, said the school is on track to achieving its goal of pupil intake.

He said: “Winton Community Academy officially has a pupil admission number of 750 and currently has 452 students on roll.

“Our strategic plan aims to have 120 students in each year group by 2022, therefore 600 students in total.

“We are delighted to say that we are on target to achieve this with 122 students making a first choice preference for Winton for September.”

The council’s forecast figures support Mr Thomas’ view, with the school set to grow from 450 pupils in 2016/17 to 795 by 2026/27.

Mr Thomas added: “We have no concerns about student numbers as they have grown year-on-year for the last three years as our drive to ensure all students have access to excellent teaching in all classrooms continues and our results and Ofsted rating improves.

“If the number of students in Andover increases as is being projected, we are in a strong position to grow our year groups to 150, whilst maintaining small class sizes and the personal approach which Winton has become known for.

“It is really important to me as the head teacher to know every student personally, students always talk positively about the relationships they are able to have with staff due to the size of the academy and we don’t want to lose sight of this.

“Recently students from an outstanding school with 1,600 pupils visited and commented on the calm and focused feel about the academy which is related to its size.

"We would not want Winton to grow beyond 750 students, but being somewhere between 600 and 750 is our aspiration over the next five years.”

A county council spokesperson said: “Forecasting school places is complex.

"It relies on a number of factors including birth rates, planned housing development and the number of families with children moving in.

“With a total of some 3,500 new homes being built within the catchment area, the resulting influx is forecast to mean a significant rise in pupil numbers at Winton.”