Havering set for new five school campuses

Concordia Academy

Concordia Academy - Credit: Archant

Five new school campuses are planned for Havering, the leader of the council has said.

Cllr Roger Ramsey was responding to claims made in a recent council meeting that the borough’s schools were “bursting at the seams” while government policy prevents the authority from responding.

Cllr Ramsey said the borough is not banned from building schools and that several projects are under way.

Although government policy does mean the council will not be able to run the schools, which will be handed over to free schools or academy providers.

Schools are planned for Rainham, Romford, and Harold Hill.

Rainham is set to get a new three-form primary school as part of the Beam Park development, which will see a 3,500-home community created in the south if the borough. It will be funded by developer contributions and a government grant.

Similarly, two sites are being considered for a school in Romford, to coincide with new homes being delivered as part of the 3,300-home Romford housing zone.

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A second free school in Romford, originally planned to be opened by Oasis Academy in 2014, is now set to open in September under new provider, REAch2. Concordia Academy will be in temporary accommodation for the first year before moving to permanent buildings in Union Road. To guarantee the school opens, the council has pledged a grant – not exceeding £100,000 – to support it through the first year if pupil numbers are not high enough.

The council is also looking at the possibility of moving Havering’s Pupil Referral Unit to new premises in Petersfield Avenue, Harold Hill, replacing its current site which was built before the First World War. The authority is working with the Department of Education and the potential academy sponsor to secure this.

A further primary school, to be built by Drapers Academy in Harold Hill, has been given the go-ahead.

Alongside these new schools, the authority is planning to expand existing primary schools, a scheme which has proved controversial in some areas.

Cllr Ramsey said: “There is concern about having to expand existing schools and that’s largely because of problems with parking. The schools themselves are quite happy and keen to expand where they can, we wouldn’t do it unless they wanted us to.”

A pilot scheme will introduce strict measures to stop parents parking in roads immediately around schools from September.

Cllr Ramsey said he is hopeful this will counter parking problems and confirmed the results of the scheme will be taken into account as any further expansions are considered.

But he did reinforce that the authority has a statutory duty to provide enough school places.