HAMPSHIRE County Council has been criticised for providing “incorrect” forecasting figures which could lead to the closure of a Basingstoke secondary school.

As previously reported in The Gazette, one of the reasons behind the proposed merger of Fort Hill Community School and Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College (CBEC) was the estimated number of Year 7 students the Winklebury School would have registered in the forthcoming academic year.

County council officers reported that only 39 pupils submitted an application for this September’s intake at Fort Hill out of the 145 available.

However, during the public consultation period, which closed on March 2, parents said this figure didn’t take into account parents who put Fort Hill down as their second choice of school.

With parents recently being given their child’s allocated school for starting Year 7 in September 2017, Fort Hill made 72 offers, almost double the forecasted figure.

Father-of-two Andrew Hood said: “The figures are a bit more than the 30 odd they told the governors it would be.

“It is also higher than the 70 students which that entered last year.”

A decision on the future of the school will be made by cabinet member for education at the county council, Cllr Peter Edgar on March 20.

Despite the criticism, the county council said it has provided open and transparent information to the public at all times.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “In terms of admission numbers, 220 children live in the catchment area for Fort Hill Community School and would be eligible to apply for a place at the school for September 2017. Thirty eight parents applied on time for the school to be their first preference; Seventy two families overall have been offered a place for their child – which includes some second and third choice applicants. It also includes places allocated for 26 children living in the catchment area who were unsuccessful in applications to their preferred schools elsewhere.

“In our experience, the majority of these 26 will not take up their allocated place at Fort Hill, but instead gain a place at a preferred school through the waiting list process.”