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Colchester: Council to spend £11.7m creating two new academies to increase primary school places in town

The former Severalls Hospital

The former Severalls Hospital

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Education chiefs are today set to agree £11.7million of spending for two new primary schools in Colchester.

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Essex County Council is bringing forward some of the funding to ensure the schemes are ready in time for a predicted population boom.

Senior councillors will debate the plans at a cabinet meeting at County Hall this morning.

One of the 420-place primary schools will be built in Braiswick and is due to open in September 2015 with two forms of entry, while the second is earmarked for the former Severalls Hospital site expected to open the following year.

Both schools will be academies.

The Learning Pathways Trust has been appointed by ministers to run the Braiswick school, while negotiations are ongoing with providers for the contract for the Severalls site.

Money for the schemes comes from the Department 
for Education and developer contributions made through a legal agreement, known as section 106 funding.

An additional £185,000 of government money will be spent over the next two years.

Extra school places are needed to cater for a predicted rise in pupil numbers, caused by a combination of general population growth and thousands of new homes planned for north Colchester.

Ray Gooding, county councillor for education, said: “There are always difficulties in making sure schools are viable and making sure we have got enough places - it is an incredibly difficult and imprecise science.

“In terms of Colchester it is very much a case of needing these primary school places.

“The delivery time of this is pretty critical.

“Braiswick has got to be ready by September next year and in terms of programming that’s a pretty swift process.

“Severalls follows on behind and we will be able to give more details in the coming months.

“The important thing is the school places are there and the children are getting their education.

“I think this is really great news for Colchester.”

The Essex Local Education Partnership, a company whose shareholders include the government and county council, is set to be given the contract to build the two schools.

Mr Gooding added: “To have somebody who knows what they are doing is very important.”

Some local borough councillors had warned of a lack of developer money for the Severalls site.

But Mr Gooding said the money was available to see the scheme through.

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