Cabinet: All but two secondary schools to expand by 2020
- Credit: Archant
Barking and Dagenham Council will spend millions of pounds expanding schools across the borough over the next five years, including academies and free schools.
Following a heated discussion, which continued behind closed doors through a 15-minute adjournment, members approved the creation of an extra 804 primary and 1,410 secondary places across the borough by 2020.
Every single secondary school in the borough will increase in size with the exception of Eastbury Community – where proposals exist to create an all-through school – and Barking Abbey, with a £2.4million Department of Education (DfE) grant set aside for 2015/16.
The Labour council agreed plans to provide an extra 60 places by September 2018 at the Warren – an academy operating outside the borough’s authority following a High Court decision last year.
Another 600 places will be created through new schools in Gascoigne and east Dagenham, with a further 60 places at United Learning free school in Goresbrook by 2017.
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A £9.3million grant will also be used to expand Sydney Russel – which converted into an academy last month – into an all-through school.
Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “At this moment in time, what we see is public money being given to private entities and that is not what we condone as a Labour group.
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Cllr Maureen Worby, cabinet member for adult social care and health, echoed his views:
“I totally disagree with the recommendations in this report,” she said.
“If the decision has to be made, fine, but I can’t agree with the way it’s laid out in this report.
But director of children’s services Helen Jenner claimed a rejection of proposals would be detrimental for pupils.
“It will put us in the position where some children will not have a school place,” she said.
Realising an adjournment was called, as members left the chamber to continue discussions.
“Thank you for that toilet break,” said Cllr Rodwell upon re-starting the meeting.
“Funny way to describe an important political debate,” replied Cllr Geddes, cabinet member for regeneration.
Plans were also agreed to expand Britain’s biggest primary school, Gascoigne, while an £11.2million grant will create 300 more places at All Saints, Jo Richardson and Robert Clack secondary schools