Thurrock pupils could be shipped to Romford to help to ease secondary school place crisis

By Local Democracy Reporter
Steve Shaw

AN academy school in Romford has offered to give Thurrock a helping hand after it was revealed the borough is facing a significant shortage of secondary school places.

St Edward’s Academy in Romford has offered to help children in Thurrock following a warning from an education trust that the borough is facing a “potential pupil place crisis”.

Romford School

Thurrock Council attempted to address the problem last week by approving a planning application that will see a rugby club transformed into a temporary school, providing an additional 120 places by September.

But applicant South West Essex Community Education Trust warned that even if every school admits their full pupil admission number for 2019, there will be a minimum of 244 children with no offer of a school place.

Jodie Hassan, headteacher at St Edward’s Academy, said: “I know the local authority is doing everything they can but it is clearly a very difficult situation.

“As soon as I learned of the number of children who would not receive a permanent school place, I immediately contacted my chair of governors, Reverend Mike Power, and tried to work on a plan to help and support any affected parents and students.

“We have a history of students living in Thurrock and attending St Edward’s Academy. We would love to strengthen these links by opening our doors and offering places in September.”

The school did not confirm the number of additional places available but said if they get “enough of an uptake” they will look at arranging transport between Thurrock and Romford.

After an Ofsted inspection in February last year St Edwards was rated as “good” for pupils’ personal development but “requires improvement” in all other areas.

Inspectors said pupils’ progress in mathematics and science at the school is “typically below average” but they added that “decisive action” is being taken to address declining academic standards.

The temporary school at the rugby club is intended to be an interim building before construction begins on the new Orsett Heath Academy. The completed school will create an extra 1,200 pupil places.

Construction of the new school is expected to begin in the Autumn with the doors opening for students in September 2021.

Thurrock Council was contacted over the school place shortage but did not respond.

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