Havering Council is investing more than £18 million over the next four years to open new schools and improve and expand existing schools to meet the growing demand for places in the borough.
The Council is developing a new programme of projects to meet the need for places from early years through to post-16 and special education. It includes plans for a new primary school at Beam Park, Rainham.
Births in Havering rose from 2,257 in 2002 to 3,423 in 2016, which has been reflected in the take up in primary school places, and over the next four years, additional places will need to be created to meet further demand. The options are currently being finalised and will be presented to Council’s cabinet for approval later this year.
Councillor Robert Benham, Havering’s Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families, said:
“The next few years will be an exciting and challenging time as we continue a programme of delivering additional places. At the heart of this programme is our commitment to ensure that we continue to meet local needs and secure high quality education for all Havering children and young people.
“Our vision for education and learning is to ensure that every child goes to a school that is rated as ‘good’ or better and that they will achieve outcomes that are above the national average.
“Havering already has an excellent track record as a place for learning and we want to ensure pupils of all abilities achieve their aspirations.”
Over the past seven years, an extra 5,360 primary school places have already been created.
As pupils transfer to secondary schools this has placed a demand on the number of places required, therefore an additional 1,495 places for secondary schools will be delivered by 2020/21.
An extra 422 early years (aged 0-5) have been provided through the Council working in partnership with local child care providers. Between 2022-23, the Council expects a further 318 reception places will be needed.
Funding for schools will come from the school expansion capital programme and ongoing revenue costs will be funded from the Government’s Designated Schools Grant.
The Council’s recent consultation on planning for future school places highlighted:
• Growing parental demand for sixth form places in secondary schools to create more choice, for which we’ll be carrying out an analysis.
• A call for more faith schools. We have included it as part of our commissioning guidelines so any future proposals will be considered if there is a need.
• A need for more special educational places, for which we will continue our ongoing programme of creating extra resources in mainstream schools and re-designating special schools. (We’ve created an extra 121 special school places from reception to year 14).
• Delivering a new free school for children with special educational needs and disabilities as part of the Council’s corporate plan of giving children the best start in life.
The latest announcement comes as Havering celebrates being the top London borough to offer pupils their first choice of secondary school place.
The commissioning plan strategy, which sets out the authority’s aims and aspirations for education provision in the borough can be viewed or downloaded here.