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Engayne Primary School submits school places FOI to back argument against expansion

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 February 2015

A parents and residents committee has organised a petition against the proposal to extend Engayne Primary School.

A parents and residents committee has organised a petition against the proposal to extend Engayne Primary School.

Archant

Empty chairs at an expanded school have fuelled a committee’s argument against the expansion of another in the area.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Engayne Parents and Residents Committee has revealed that Branfil School in Upminster only filled 76 out of the 90 reception places in the current school year, with 20 per cent of the pupils coming from Thurrock.

It showed that 27pc of 80 pupils from the previous year were also from the neighbouring borough.

Steve Youd-Thomas, spokesman of the Engayne Parents and Residents Committee, said: “Branfil is a perfect example of why Engayne should not be expanded.

“There are empty spaces at school because there isn’t that much of a demand, despite an increasing birth rate. And the fact that these children are not even from the area shows that Havering has not got a problem.

“If schools in Thurrock are not big enough then that’s their council’s problem and not ours.”

Branfil Primary School was expanded in 2013 which involved introducing 90 reception pupils every academic year as well as larger classrooms and playground.

Parents of pupils at Engayne, also in Upminster, are now protesting against the council’s proposal to welcome 220 more pupils to the school.

A petition against the idea has been signed by more than 600 people.

Steve said: “We know Engayne doesn’t need to expand because, at the end of the day, it will be the children’s education that will suffer.

Cllr Damian White, deputy leader of Havering Council, said: “We have a demand on school places across the borough and we must provide a space for everyone.

“Since the start of term, two further reception places at Branfil have been filled and the school is at, or over, capacity in almost all other year groups.

“When planning places we must plan several years in advance and while no final decision has yet been made on Engayne Primary School, we know that we will need further places in Upminster in the coming years.”


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