The future of shape of education in Newham was discussed at Cabinet (Tuesday 3 November) as the council plans what type, where & how many school places young people will need over the next five years.
Cabinet agreed an updated “Places for All’ school place planning strategy – which aims to match supply with demand across the borough.
The meeting heard that the Council has a statutory, or legal obligation to ensure there is sufficient education provision within the borough.
Overall the picture in Newham is of slowing demand for Primary School places, but there is a significant increase in demand for Secondary places. With additional housing planned for Newham and the larger primary age groups moving through the system, demand for secondary school places is forecasted to increase for the next five years.
To meet this demand funding for a further two secondary school expansion projects was agreed by Cabinet in January 2019, alongside two secondary schools to be opened through the central free-school wave. This proposed additional provision will help to reduce the overall shortfall of places to 3 forms of entry by September 2025.
To meet extra demand, two forms of permanent entry have been provided at Forest Gate for September 2020. Four forms of permanent entry will be provided at Brampton Manor in September 2021 and in the meantime the school has agreed to admit additional students in September 2020. Subject to Cabinet approval for procurement, four further forms of permanent entry are planned for September 2021:
- Lister Community School – proposed permanent expansion of two forms of entry for September 2021 (to create a total of 300 additional places from Y7 to Y11)
- Little Ilford School – proposed permanent expansion of two forms of entry for September 2021 (to create a total of 300 additional places from Y7 to Y11)
As a result of the slowing demand for Primary School places the planned expansion of Colegrave School has been suspended subject to review in three years.
This will result in a saving of approximately £9million to the Basic Need Programme – the money given by government to make sure Councils can fulfil their obligation to create sufficient school places for their young people.
There will be further reports and discussion around how this saving could be allocated – but it will include prioritisation of special needs education (SEND), and provision of secondary places. All proposals will be discussed with schools.
Councillor Zulfiqar Ali, lead member for Education said: “The provision of a top class education for our young people is an absolute priority for this council, and with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our schools, it is more vital than ever that we make sure the offer we make to pupils, parents and carers is the best available.
“We have to make these decisions based on the shifting demographic make-up of our borough, but we have to plan ahead, and working closely with schools and governing bodies we have come up with a plan which we are confident will provide the best opportunities for all our young people.
“We are grateful for the co-operation and support of all our schools in preparing this plan and look forward to delivering these extra school places which will ensure the excellent standard of education we offer in Newham will be guaranteed for the future.
“Schools are at the very heart of this council’s ambition to make Newham the best place to live, grow up, thrive and fulfil the enormous potential of this borough.”