PLANS for a new primary and secondary school in north Colchester have been given the go-ahead by the Government’s education boss.

The Gilberd School, Colchester County High School for Girls and Manningtree High School are jointly behind the bid.

The schools will be named the Trinity College and will be built on land between Mile End Road and south of the A12.

They are expected to take up to 1,170 pupils between them eventually.

The bidders learnt on Friday that approval has been given by MP Justine Greening for the partnership to move to the next stage of the “pre-opening” process.

The schools form part of major plans known as the Northern Growth Area, which will ultimately see 1,600 new homes and community facilities built on the 257-acres of land.

The three secondary schools, Gilberd, Colchester County High School for Girls and Manningtree High, successfully bid to the Department for Education after working together for some time.

They have been pooling teacher training and sharing ideas to help them improve.

The primary school will have two classes when it opens to pupils at reception age.

The secondary school will have five classes starting from Year Seven, for 11 and 12-year-olds, when it opens.

Sally Morris, headteacher of Manningtree High School, said: “The need for north Colchester was clearly identified, it was a question of the Department for Education deciding who they felt were the appropriate people to put it together.

“It is really flattering they said you three schools have enough skills and expertise and proven leadership between you to set up a school covering this area.

“It means we have the opportunity to work collaboratively with two great partner schools, which is great for staff and beneficial for education in north Essex.”

Gillian Marshall, headteacher of Colchester County High School for Girls, said: “This is a very exciting development and all the schools will benefit from the collaborative partnership.”

The Trinity College name was chosen to reflect the link between the three schools but also to allude to the challenge and academic aspiration that it will be based on. The secondary school will be a, comprehensive Free School serving families in north Colchester.

The cost of building the new schools has not yet been confirmed but the Department for Education will pay, via the Education Funding Agency.

.The details of timing of the opening of the schools will be confirmed during further talks with the Department for Education and Essex County Council, in order to align with the latter’s “10-year plan” for Colchester.

Essex County Council was unable to provide a response yesterday.

The Northern Growth Area will see the homes, known as the Chesterwell development, built on land between the A12 and Nayland Road and Boxted Road.

The plans for it have been agreed between developers Mersea Homes, Countryside and Colchester Council.

Developers said from the outset the plans would include schools as well as community centre and shops.