Plans for a new secondary school in Havering have been put on ice by the council, after projections suggested there is “no immediate demand” as previously expected. 

In a new report detailing the outlook for school places between 2023 and 2027, officers wrote that despite a 52pc increase in the number of births in Havering between 2002 and 2016, the birth rate had since decreased by 11pc from 2016 to 2021. 

This has resulted in a drop in the population of children aged zero to five, with lower reception intakes in 2021/22 and 2022/23 following a peak in 2020/21. 

The report goes on to note that while the council will continue to assess the support required by schools over the forthcoming period, “current projections indicate that there is no immediate demand for a new secondary school in Havering, as earlier projections had indicated".

"Plans for a new secondary school have therefore been paused," it said.

While there is a projected increase in both primary age pupils and secondary over the coming years, the growing demand is linked specifically to planned housing being delivered.  

“The need can initially be met via available places in secondary schools in the south and east planning areas,” the report adds. 

In a cabinet meeting on March 8, Cllr Oscar Ford, cabinet member for children and young people, said it is “too soon to say" if a reduction in primary school intakes is part of "an ongoing trend, or one that may stabilise".

Noting the updated projections for secondary schools, Cllr Ford added post-16 places are however anticipated to increase, “with the additional demand being met through the existing sixth form college and new academy sixth form provision”. 

Cllr Ford also referenced how an application for funding for a new 300-pupil SEND school had failed during a recent bid with the Department for Education. 

“We will continue to develop a plan to deliver these additional resources, however the places on offer may need to be scaled back,” he said. 

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Cllr Gillian Ford, cabinet member for adults and health and the deputy council leader, described the failed bid as “very disappointing”, adding: “Don’t give in. We just need to keep applying and trying.” 

Children due to start at a Havering secondary school this September were among those in London most likely to have secured a preferred place, with 78.88pc of children getting their top choice.