Previously Newham has experienced continual increases in the number of births resulting in an increase in its overall child population. The Council has responded to this need with an extensive program of school expansions, with the majority within the primary sector. Whilst the pace of growth in births has now slowed, Newham still has the third highest child population of 0-15 year olds in London. With the Local Plan set to deliver 17,947 new homes over the next five years and 43,000 by 2033 there is a requirement for further growth in provision.
The scope of the “School Expansion Programme” (SEP) is to provide new permanent teaching accommodation to enable the schools to expand in size as well as providing enhanced teaching facilities.
Ensuring that the supply of school places meets demand is a statutory duty of the local authority under Section 14 of the Education Act 1996.
Feasibility studies have been completed to ensure that the school governors, parents/carers and the community are aware of the benefits, impacts and opportunities that could be available to the schools. The new facilities will ensure that parents will have an informed choice about what school they would like their children to attend and, importantly, that there is a school available in their catchment area.
In the majority of cases the altered school premises will need new additional points of access off the highway for vehicles, pupils and visitors to the school. These will require alteration works to the existing highway and thus will have impact on the existing use of the highway space.
The potential highway alteration works are as follows:
- Installation of pedestrian guard railings at pupil entrances to improve road safety.
- Provision of dropped kerbs and/or raised carriageway levels to improve accessibility
- Reinstatement of existing redundant crossings to improve footways.
- Installation of Zebra crossings and tactile paving to improve road safety.
- Junction build-outs to reduce crossing distances and increase footway widths.
- Raised 'tables', road humps and/or cushions to reduce traffic speeding and improve road safety.
- Installation of 'School Keep Clear' road markings and associated signage to ensure driver/pedestrian visibility at school times.
- Changes to existing Resident Parking Zones to accommodate zebra crossings, school keep clear markings and new schools’ entrances.
- Provision of 'Disabled' bays to ensure proximity to schools’ entrances for disabled badge holders.
- Installation of double and single yellow lines at road junctions to prevent dangerous parking.
- Public realm and greening improvements to enhance the footways outside and near the school entrances
The extent and impact of the necessary work will vary from school to school, depending on the expansion plans and the existing highway layout. It is possible that on-street parking spaces will reduce when new entrances are added.
The main objectives of these changes, together with other initiatives and programmess are:
- To improve sustainable transport in Newham
- To improve safety for all users
- To encourage active travel to school
- To enhance public realm