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£30m grant to cure Havering’s school places shortage

PUBLISHED: 11:44 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:05 16 January 2014

Headteacher Andy Kelly, Cllr Michael White and children at the beginning of the expansion of Branfil Primary School in Cedar Avenue, Upminster.

Headteacher Andy Kelly, Cllr Michael White and children at the beginning of the expansion of Branfil Primary School in Cedar Avenue, Upminster.

Archant

A £30million grant will be used to cure the huge lack of primary school places in Havering.

The council announced in its budget report for 2014 that an application for the capital funding had been successful.

The grant will be spread over two years and be used to build 70 new classrooms and potentially a new building for the borough’s first free school, Oasis Academy Romford, which will open in September.

Cllr Roger Ramsey, cabinet member for value, said: “This is very, very welcome.

“We asked for these funds because there has been a surge in demand for school places due to people moving into the area.”

The council will receive £14.6m in 2015/16 and £15.4m in 2016/17, though the former sum will be used for the coming financial year to help deliver the projects by September 2015.

Cllr Ramsey confirmed most of the money will be used to build extra classrooms at existing schools.

Funds for 2014/15 have already been used to provide 23 “bulge classes” in time for the next school year – and a further £4.5m will be made available to help with the plans.

There are 266 extra four-year-olds expected to enter the school system in September – 90 of which will attend Oasis Academy Romford.

It was originally hoped the 15 primary schools expanded in 2012/13 at a cost of £16.6m would see the borough through until 2015 but extra “bulge classes” were required.

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