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Shortfall in primary school places in Havering predicted

PUBLISHED: 13:02 16 July 2012 | UPDATED: 13:03 16 July 2012

Cllr Paul Rochford

Cllr Paul Rochford

Archant

Havering is set to have a huge shortfall in primary school places in the next few years due to an increase in birthrate.

Romford will have the highest shortfall, followed by Harold Hill, Harold Wood and Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park.

It was revealed at the cabinet meeting at Havering Town Hall in Main Road, Romford on Wednesday July 11.

Cllr Paul Rochford (Con, Emerson Park) told the committee that they would have to introduce new schools to the borough including academies or free schools to meet the demand.

It followed a debate by councillors over the increase in the population and the closure of schools.

Leader of the Havering Labour Party, Cllr Keith Darvill (Heaton) hit out at the administration for closing down Ingrebourne School and Dunningford School in Harold Hill, while opening Elm Park Primary School in Hornchurch and Hylands schools in Romford.

He said: “The closure of the schools and the selling off of the land seems to me to have been a bit premature.

“We need to address the issue as a matter of urgency otherwise we will have primary school children housed in portacabins.”

Leader of the Independent Local Residents’ Group Cllr Jeff Tucker (Rainham and Wennington) said that he had predicted the population increase a few years ago and was ignored in the Town Hall.

But Geoff Starns (Con,Havering Park), hit back at the opposition, he said: “We want to give these kids the chance of a good start and I wish the opposition would stop saying I told you so.”

Councillors then went on to discuss two options for delivering services to schools.

The committee heard that previously the council had sold certain non-statutory, optional support services to schools, known as ‘traded services’.

But changes in the way funding is given to schools means the council can no longer continue to provide all these services in the same way.

The council is now set to keep in-house a smaller number of teams to continue to provide statutory services to schools, such as admissions to schools and special needs education.

The council is also now looking at the establishment of a non statutory Havering School Improvement Service (Hsis) Trust with local schools and a “soft market testing” exercise to establish the level of external interest in running the service.


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