Parents gain more time over Rainham school expansion

Parents and councillors at the gates of Parsonage Farm school

Parents and councillors at the gates of Parsonage Farm school - Credit: Archant

A mother has described a decision by Havering Council’s cabinet to delay controversial plans for a school’s expansion as a “step in the right direction”.

Cabinet members considered the expansion of Parsonage Farm Primary in Farm Road, Rainham. A petition opposing the idea had received 425 signatures.

The expansion will go back to consultation, members confirmed at Wednesday’s Town Hall meeting, before a decision is made in September.

Leanne King, a mother of two children at the school, is happy with the decision.

“It’s a step forward in the right direction. It looks like they are listening to our concerns,” said Mrs King, of Rainham, who was sitting with other parents at the meeting eagerly awaiting the announcement.

The proposed expansion would have seen a “super-size” primary created – in the words of Independent Residents’ Group councillor David Durant – that would mean places increased from 486 to 840 from September 2015.

Mrs King believes Rainham Village Primary in Upminster Road South is better suited to taking the increase.

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However, chief education officer Joy Hollister warned the meeting that the expansion is ultimately inevitable.

“In the future we will have to expand both schools, so it’s a question of which school do we expand first,” she said.

Children and learning cabinet member Cllr Meg Davis (Conservative) stressed that “big doesn’t necessarily mean not as good” and that large capacity schools can do a good job in educating children.

The expansions of Scotts Primary in Bonington Road, Hornchurch, and the RJ Mitchell Primary in Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch, will go ahead as planned.

The following schools will also grow: Broadford Primary, Faringdon Avenue, Harold Hill; Benhurst Primary, Benhurst Avenue, Elm Park; Newtons Primary, Lowen Road, Rainham; Mawney School, Mawney Road, Romford; Suttons Primary, Suttons Lane, Hornchurch, and Hacton Primary, Chepstow Avenue, Hornchurch.