Pressure set to build on Havering school places

Meg Davis

Meg Davis - Credit: Archant

With birth rates and movements into the borough on the rise the pressure on Havering school places is set to continue.

Havering Council’s cabinet will meet next week to discuss how 3,000 extra primary school places and 5,000 more secondary school places can be created in the next five years.

Romford and Harold Hill have been highlighted as areas where need is likely to be particularly acute.

But government policy prevents the authority from simply building new schools to meet the needs of young residents.

Instead it must continue expanding existing schools and encourage academy providers or free schools to open in the borough.

Free schools in Romford and Harold Hill have already been given approval by the Department of Education. But Oasis Primary School failed to open in Romford as expected in September after a temporary site fell through, leaving the parents of students allocated places concerned about their children’s education.

Oasis Primary School is now expected to open in September 2016, while Drapers’ Maylands Academy is expected to open its doors in Harold Hill this September.

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But, even if the two free schools open as expected further places will be required. Havering’s birth rate has grew by 33per cent between 2002 and 2013 and the number of young people moving into the borough is also increasing.

Cllr Meg Davis, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “We’ve been experiencing pressure on school places for several years now, and as the projections in this plan show, that isn’t going to change for the foreseeable future.

“We have great schools in Havering, and we’ve already worked closely with many headteachers to expand their schools, providing enough places for local families. Education is one of the most important things and we will continue to provide the best possible education for local children, while also ensuring that everyone who wants one; has a school place in this borough.”

A second report will go before the council in September detailing how the places will be created.