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New secondary schools set for Suffolk and north Essex to meet rising number of pupils

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:33 02 September 2017

Sybil Andrews Academy in Bury St Edmunds can be expanded to 900 pupils to meet demand. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Sybil Andrews Academy in Bury St Edmunds can be expanded to 900 pupils to meet demand. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Education chiefs in Suffolk and Essex have said they are committed to creating new secondary school places in the next five years after warnings that nearly half of all local authorities in the country would be unable to meet demand.

A new high school has been earmarked for the Adastral Park development. Picture: BROADWAY MALYAN for CEGA new high school has been earmarked for the Adastral Park development. Picture: BROADWAY MALYAN for CEG

Analysis of pupil forecasts carried out by the Local Government Association has revealed that 49% of councils will be unable to meet demand for secondary school places, with more than 125,000 pupils nationwide facing the possibility of missing a school place by 2022/23.

But despite the analysis, local authorities in Suffolk and Essex say they have already been carrying out work to ensure that this does not happen.

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council: “We are in the process of completing a number of projects that will provide additional places to mitigate an increase.

“Recently we have built a new high school in Bury St Edmunds, opening initially at 600 places but with the ability to expand to 900 when places are required. We have also expanded two high schools in Ipswich to take an additional class in year seven and there are plans for a further two high schools to be built in the Ipswich area in the next five years depending on the speed of housing growth.

“We continually monitor pupil forecasts to review the need for additional school places across Suffolk, working closely with all schools in the county to maximise their capacity.”

In Essex, a 10-year-plan has been drawn up, with an estimated 7,275 new places needed in north Essex in the next decade.

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “We have a fantastic track record of investment in new school places in Essex and spent about £74million creating more than 2,500 places for the new academic year. Essex is continuing to grow and we work closely with our partners, including schools, district and borough councils and housing providers, to assess future demand for school places and determine where they should be created.

“We have already committed to spending about £230m on creating new school places over the next three years and remain committed to ensuring there are enough places to meet demand.”

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