Council leader questions cost of opening second Harris Academy in Chafford

THURROCK Council Leader and education portfolio holder, Cllr John Kent has responded to the news that the government has approved plans for a new school in Chafford Hundred.

Speaking on Thursday (19 June), he said: “While we question the need for another new school on this estate, we have a good a close working relationship with the Harris Academy, and know they understand the delicate nature of these decisions – it is far more than a simple announcement, the devil, as always, will be in the detail, detail we haven’t seen yet.

“But the Harris Academy is recognised a phenomenal school, and I don’t doubt this new school will be too.

“But I want every Thurrock school to be outstanding and we all want all our children to have the best possible education, and the important word there is ‘all’ so we must now work to ensure the creation of this school will not have the, unintentional, effect of undermining other schools in the borough.

“It’s about more than creating one new school for Chafford Hundred, the council has to ensure every child in Thurrock has the best possible chance, whether living on this estate or in Chadwell or Corringham.

“The Thurrock Education Alliance set up in the wake of the Commission brings all our schools together and I am sure this new school will play an integral part in that.”

He added: “People will ask whether it is wise to spend millions on creating one new school – or whether would it be better to spend the money to raise attainment and facilities across all our schools and to fund additional classes at Harris and elsewhere to accommodate future need?

“We are where we are and the government has made its decision. It is now up to us as a council and us as an education community to make the best of that.

“We look forward to working with this school – as we do every school in Thurrock – to get the best education we can for all our young people.”

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