By Local Democracy Reporter
A SCHOOL in Stanford-le-Hope is to get a major expansion that will boost pupil numbers by more than 200.
The council has granted planning permission for a new three-storey teaching block at St Clere’s School, on Butts Lane.
It comes after the school was forced to reorganise the use of existing rooms to accommodate a growing pupil numbers, meaning the loss of the school library, a drama studio and a staff room among others.
Thurrock Council’s planning team said the school’s struggle to deal with the influx of pupils means the application would categorised as being under “very special circumstances”.
In a report, the officers go on to note: “The school recently carried out a substantial reorganisation in order to provide the required teaching provision for the increased pupil numbers.
“This has resulted in the loss of a number of ancillary provisions including the library, staff room, pupil services, drama studio, ICT provision and pupil referral unit.
“The school’s ability to deliver their curriculum specialisms of science and sports have suffered as a result of this reorganisation and this proposal aims to provide them with the facilities needed to continue to excel in these areas.
“This includes the provision of new science laboratories that meet the Department of Education space standards and grouped into one area of the school as opposed to current disjointed locations around the school.”
Under the approved plans, four temporary classrooms will be demolished and replaced with the new teaching block that will be comprised of six new classrooms, four science labs, an indoor sports hall and dining facilities. In total, the school’s capacity will increase from 1,100 to more than 1,300.
While the school will be main user of the facilities, plans also state the sports hall could be used by the community outside of school times.
There has been pressure on class numbers across Thurrock has been the result of the borough’s growing population and the collapse of a £3million plan to temporarily convert a rugby club into a school by September.
The plan had been expected to provide places to 120 secondary school pupils but it was derailed when the when the department of education failed to sign it off.
To counter the impact, the council committing to spending £1million for the construction of new classrooms in secondary schools, such as the one at St Cleres.
The rugby club conversion is now expected to take place by September 2020, with the 120 pupils eventually becoming part of the 1,200-pupil secondary school Orsett Heath Academy, which is expected to open in 2023.
The Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust has also received support from the Department of Education to begin work on the 900-place Thames Park Secondary School on land adjacent to Palmer’s College in Chadwell Road, Grays.
The first intake of pupils for the new school are expected in September next year, with 120 pupils learning from a temporary teaching block adjacent to South Essex College campus in Grays until the school is completed.