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Colchester schools expansion plan unveiled
6:10am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
A TIMETABLE to build a new secondary school in Colchester and reopen a second site has been unveiled.
Colchester is expanding so quickly, Essex County Council believes there will be 400 more Year 7 pupils than school spaces by 2022.
By 2026, 2,000 extra school spaces must be found.
Education bosses have revealed how they intends to meet that shortfall.
- In the short term, County Hall has agreed a 150-space expansion of the Gilberd School, in Highwoods, funded by developer contributions
- In 2017, Alderman Blaxill school, which will shut next July, will reopen for 600 pupils. Consultations will be held as to who will operate the site
- In 2019, a 600-pupil school will open on land in the area, off Nayland Road. The site, including 1,600 homes, was granted outline planning permission last month. No funding is in place.
- In 2021, space for at least 300 more pupils will be created at Alderman Blaxill.
- From 2022, a further 600 spaces will be found at Alderman Blaxill, the North Growth Area school and existing schools.
A new report also reveals the Stanway Federation, which runs Alderman Blaxill, has agreed to maintain the Shrub End site between 2014 and 2016 and seek community and other uses for it.
It is likely Market Field School in Elmstead Market will relocate for the 2014/15 school year while an £8.5million overhaul takes place.
The announcement follows a series of consultations over the past decade where Essex County Council sought to shut Colchester secondary schools including Alderman Blaxill.
Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said the decision to reopen Alderman Blaxill in 2017 was a vindication of campaigner efforts against its closure. He said: “It has to be accepted the number of children of secondary school age in Colchester is not sufficient to fill all the places.
“But such are the numbers of children coming through the primary schools, plus those yet to start school, it was obvious there would be a need to reopen Alderman Blaxill.
“What these proposals do not say, nor is it necessary to do so at this stage, is what status the Shrub End complex would have from 2017.
“Whether it be a self-standing school or a partner with another school – it is currently associated with the Stanway School – is not important.
“What is important is that Shrub End will have secondary school provision, which is what I have always campaigned for.”
Shrub End campaigner Kevin Starling added: “Essex County Council made decisions based in incorrect information, and they’re squirming to put things right for the future. I think politics gets in the way of common sense, both locally and nationally.”
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