Primary School Places
Site clearance has started after planning permission was granted by the County Council for a new primary school in the grounds of Simon Balle Secondary in Mangrove Road.
The new school will provide a new 2-form entry primary educational facility for nursery, reception, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils. There will also be two new car parks, a hard play area, new crossing point and new boundary fence.
The school is expected to open for the Autumn Term 2015.
A shortage of primary school places emerged in 2011, with parents failing to get places at their top three selected schools and being sent to schools some distance from their homes. The situation is most acute in the eastern area of the town.
The County Council has been blamed for underestimating the number of necessary primary school places, together with the closure ten years ago of The Pines primary school, due to [then] falling demand.
Primary School applications for the academic year 2012-13 showed a 13% increase over the previous year, amounting to a shortfall of some 26 places. As a result the County Council decided to increase the size of Bengeo Primary to accommodate an additional form on a temporary basis until a more permanent solution could be found.
In 2012 a group of parents proposed a Free School for the town, but in 2013 their plans were turned down by The Department Of Education due to financial concerns.
In 2013, land within the perimeter of Simon Balle School, a secondary academy, was identified as the possible site for a new primary facility, and plans were put out to a public consultation in early 2014. A planning application followed and permission was granted by the County Council in the Summer of 2014.