A new strategy published by Essex County Council states that over 22,000 new schools will be needed across Essex by 2027.
The council has spent around £74million creating 2,535 new permanent mainstream places across the county for the 2017/18 academic year and plans to create thousands more in the years to come. This will ensure that there are sufficient school places for children between 4 and 16 years old.
Councillor Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: ‘We have an excellent track record of investing in new school places.
‘We remain committed to ensuring Essex has the infrastructure it needs to grow and have outlined plans to spend a further £87million on mainstream school project as part of our ambitious £300million budget proposals.’
With significant pressure on pupil places in Essex, projections currently show an extra 12,201 new primary school places and 9,915 new secondary school places will be needed across the county between now and 2027.
Saffron Walden residents had hoped the 10 year plan would prevent the closing of a private Quaker school (known as The Walden School) that went into receivership last summer. Despite the increase in house building within the area, the County Council has currently decided to not take it over as an annexe for Saffron Waldon’s County high school which is currently oversubscribed.
Plans for building new schools in Essex include areas such as: Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford. A spokesman from Essex County Council said: ‘There will definitely be a new school for Harlow but at this stage we cannot say anymore than that.’
The purpose of the 10-year plan is to set out:
- The strategic and local context in which the capital programme and school organisation service operates in Essex
- The demand for school places in the next 10 years (from academic year 18/19 – 27/28) for each of the districts and the authority’s plans to address this demand
- Solutions already in the pipeline for each of the Districts that will meet some of this demand
- Options for addressing future demand
Essex County Council works closely with partners, including schools, district/borough councils and housing providers to assess demand for school places.