District labelled ‘key growth area’ in school places plan
More than 2,500 new school places will be needed in Uttlesford over the next decade, according to Essex County Council.
Up to 22 new schools are to be built countywide over the next 10 years with more than 22,000 places likely to be needed by 2027.
The council’s 10-year plan predicts 1,631 primary and 930 secondary school places will be required across Uttlesford alone by 2027.
Two new primary schools are already in the pipeline for the district, which includes a government-approved free school.
Existing schools in Uttlesford will also be expanded and admission numbers increased, adding 233 Reception places and 186 Year 7 places.
As part of the last county council budget, approved in February 2017, the authority anticipated creating 13,000 new places over the course of three years. Some 2,535 of these have already been created.
Key areas of growth in terms of pupil places are Chelmsford, Colchester, Tendring, and Uttlesford and the council is supporting free school applications in order to meet demand.
Councillor Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “We have an excellent track record of investing in new school places and spent about £74million creating more than 2,500 places ahead of September 2017.
“As a result, we were able to offer a record percentage of primary and secondary school pupils their parents’ preferred places for the latest academic year, which is an outstanding achievement in the current climate.
“Despite our successes, we recognise that the county is continuing to grow and a further 22,000 new school places will be needed over the next decade.
“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 projects as part of our ambitious £300million budget proposals.”
The council said there is a pattern of growing demand for school places in and around larger urban areas, with stable or falling demand for school places in rural areas.
The additional school places will be financed by grants from Government and agencies, section 106 and community infrastructure levy contributions from developers, and contributions from schools.