Redbridge gets �23million to expand and build new schools as demand for places grows

More than �23million has been given to Redbridge Council to address the shortfall in primary and secondary school places for children.

The money, allocated by the Department for Education, will be spent on the expansion and creation of new schools.

Last year the council received about �28million from the government for funding extra school places.

Cllr Alan Weinberg, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We have known about the desperate need for school places in the borough for some time and have been working hard to accommodate pupils who want to go to school in Redbridge.

“The money given shows the need has been acknowledged here and I’m pleased that this will help alleviate some of the pressures placed on us.”

In September 2011 an additional 1,965 primary school places were created with a further 840 expected to be available in 2012.

The moved to increase the number of school places has been put down to the rising birth rate in the borough as well as the variety of schools on offer.

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Cllr Weinberg added: “The level of education in Redbridge is excellent.

Parents choose to send their children in Redbridge due to the range of schools such as grammar, academy, faith and free schools available.

“It’s got a lot going for it.”

A number of schools are being expanded including Christchurch Primary School, Ilford; Grove Primary School, Chadwell Heath; Mayespark Primary School, Goodmayes and Mossford Green Primary School, Barkingside.

The Isaac Newton Academy in Ilford, which is expected to open in September, will create 180 places.

Kevin Baskill is the headteacher of Christchurch Primary School, which began the process of expansion three years ago.

He said: “Expansion is a gradual process, even though there is still a waiting list we won’t be expanding any further.

“I think parents should be able to walk their children to school which the expansion may help.”

While some may prefer to send their children to a smaller school, Mr Baskill believes larger schools have many potential benefits.

He said: “Bigger schools are able to generate lots of good ideas which you could not do in a smaller school. Throughout the expansion we remained an outstanding school and expansion will mean more children are doing well.”