Primary school expansion unveiled in Colchester

Gazette: Claire Holmes, Monkwick infant school headteacher, celebrating with pupils. Claire Holmes, Monkwick infant school headteacher, celebrating with pupils.

A BLUEPRINT to find places for 1,500 more primary school children in Colchester has been unveiled.

Essex County Council has proposed building two new primary schools in north Colchester and expanding five schools in the south of the town.

Overall, an extra 210 places a year will be found - the equivalent of seven forms of 30 pupils for each school year.

The new primaries, which will be academies or free schools, will open at New Braiswick Park in 2015 and at the Severalls Hospital site the following year.

Simon Billings, headteacher at St John’s Green Primary, which is set to be expanded, said: “For the headteachers in Colchester, it’s all about the kids and they want them to do the best they possibly can.

“That’s the ethos they all try to embed.

“The most important thing is retaining the quality of education we provide and not to lose sight of the fact that it’s about the children.

“The biggest challenge will be to remember 90 new names every year instead of 60.”

Monkwick Infant and Junior Schools in School Lane will expand from 420 pupils to 630.

Claire Holmes, infant school headteacher, said: “Headteachers and the local authority have been meeting for some time to find out where the areas of growth can be and what we can do to make sure all the children of Colchester have good school places.

“It’s a positive move to possibly upgrade some parts of our school as well.”

The school had already taken on an extra 15 reception pupils in September on a temporary basis.

The playground has already received a revamp and Mrs Holmes said she believed further upgrades would be on the way.

Montgomery Infant & Junior schools, in Shrub End, will also grow from 420 pupils to 630.

The proposals come less than three years since County Hall unveiled its last plans to expand Colchester’s primary schools.

A consultation was held in February 2011 which is seeing nine primary schools across the borough expand to offer around 180 extra places a year.

One of those schools was St John’s Green Primary School, where a £6 million new campus is currently under construction on nearby Abbey Fields.

The school doubled its roll from 210 pupils to 420 pupils in 2011, and will expand further to 630 pupils by 2020.

The under construction site will be able to accommodate most of the new pupils, although extra classrooms may be needed in around five years.

Timeline

  • September 2014: St John’s Green Primary expands to become a 630 place school Montgomery Infants expands to become a 270 place school.
  • Monkwick Infants expands to become 270 place school.
  • September 2015: New 420 place primary school opens in Braiswick.
  • September 2016: New 420 place primary school opens on site of former Severalls Hospital.
  • September 2017: Montgomery Junior expands to become a 360 place school.
  • Monkwick Junior expands to become a 360 place school.

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