New schools planned for Basildon and Thurrock

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Plans have been revealed to build three new schools in Basildon.

Two primaries and one secondary are being proposed in Basildon by Berlesduna Academy Trust, which already operates seven schools across the borough.

Meanwhile, Academy Partnership wants to open a primary in Witham and Catalyst Academies Trust wants to open a new all-through school in Thurrock.

The proposals are part of the 14th round of applications for free school funding offered by the Department for Education (DfE), known as wave 14 applications.

Catalyst Academies Trust’s application is for one new all-through free school within Thurrock to open in 2023.

It would be made up of 420 primary school places and a 600 place secondary school, as well as an additional 60 place nursery provision, in Northlake (Aveley/Ockendon/Purfleet area).

Berlesduna Academy Trust’s three proposals are for Burnt Mills Primary School, Greens Farm Primary School and The Colin Moore School.

Burnt Mills Primary School is being proposed as a brand new two form entry school in east Basildon catering for children from reception to Year 6 with a nursery.

Although it will begin with only reception and nursery children, the school will grow year-on-year until it reaches its full capacity of 420 children from early years to upper Key Stage 2.

Greens Farm Primary School will be a brand new two form entry school in Billericay catering for children from reception to Year 6 with a nursery.

Like Burnt Mills, it will start with reception and nursery children, but grow year-on-year until there is a full primary intake of 420 children from early years to upper Key Stage 2.

The Colin Moore School will be a brand new four form entry secondary school in east Basildon catering for students from Year 7 until they do GCSEs at age 16.

It will grow from an initial intake of just Year 7 students, until there is a full secondary intake of 600 students from Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

The DfE has said that wave 14  applicants have to show there is basic need for the school places where there are low educational standards.

It has also added 16-19 free school provision, including a sixth form as part of a secondary school, is likely to be approved by exception only.

A statement from Berlesduna Academy Trust as part of its application says: “As communities in Essex continue to grow and develop, so does the Berlesduna Academy Trust.

“The Department for Education is currently inviting Academy sponsors to oversee the opening and running of new schools.

“Berlesduna prides itself on being an inclusive, forward thinking education provider. Improving the opportunities, attainment, and life chances for the local Essex communities we serve is central to our vision.

“Basildon Council’s emerging local plan has the requirement to deliver a number of schools to accommodate nearly 20,000 new homes, which includes a secondary school to the east of Basildon.

“Berlesduna would like to support the ambition and plans for Basildon by delivering a primary school in the Billericay area and a primary and secondary school in east Basildon.

It adds: “The schools will have an inclusive educational ethos, will support other local schools and will follow the national curriculum.

“If our applications are successful, we will be working closely with Essex County Council, Basildon Council and the local communities to ensure that the new schools meet the needs of the local communities and provide schools which they will be proud of.”

Berlesduna Academy Trust has also been confirmed as the approved sponsor for St Mary’s CE Primary School in Woodham Ferrers.

This was confirmed in a letter to Essex County Council from the Regional Schools Commissioner received on November 4 2019 and means the school will now not be closed.

A statement from Catalyst said: “Our academies will develop the system leaders of the future through the provision of outstanding Continuing Professional Development and plentiful opportunities to lead across a group.

“In this way, our group of academies will together transform educational opportunities for pupils in Thurrock and ensure that many more will have access to outstanding provision.”

Free schools are a type of academy established since 2010 under the Government’s free school policy initiative. 

They are funded by the government but are not run by the local authority and therefore have more control over how they set their own pay and conditions for staff, the length of school terms and school days.

They also do not have to follow the national curriculum.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]