Councillors’ school expansion fears amid Rainham redevelopment
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 July 2016
Councillors have criticised the borough’s plans to expand schools, claiming that school kitchens are already failing to provide hot meals for pupils.
At a meeting of the Rainham and Wennington and South Hornchurch Working Party on Tuesday night, members received an update on how the development of Rainham’s new housing zone would affect the availability of school places in the area.
And when it was announced that the strain on school places in the area would mean schools would have to expand, members were less than impressed.
Cllr Keith Roberts said: “You can continue expanding schools ad infinitum in this borough, but in the end it’s all going to come to a grinding halt.
“What’s happening is that these schools are being expanded and the kitchen and dining areas are not being touched.
“It just will not do to continue expanding and not providing the kitchen and dining facilities to go with it.”
Councillors also discussed Parsonage Farm school, in Farm Road, Rainham, and revealed they had heard stories about staggered lunchtimes for overcrowded dining rooms leading to some children only being served cold sandwiches.
However, the council strongly deny that there is a strain on schools’ kitchen facilities.
A council spokesman said: “The council plans its school expansions carefully and the provision of school meals is one of many aspects that are considered.
“We use both specialist external contractors, and our own school meals team who know the schools well and are able to make detailed plans for each school.
“There are no problems with the provision of hot meals for pupils in any of our schools and we are not expecting any such issues to arise.”
Cllr Michael Deon Burton was also critical of the plan.
He said: “We seem to be asking more children to use facilities and space that was designed for even less children.”
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