Redbridge secondary school to become one of London’s largest following �16.9m project

A secondary school will become one of the largest in London once a �16.9million project is completed, paving the way for others to be expanded.

Beal High School, Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, which has 1,600 students and is heavily oversubscribed, will increase to almost 2,500 once the major project is finished.

The 840 additional pupils will be housed in a new three-storey building and sixth form centre which will include specialised teaching spaces, a learning resource centre, assembly and sports halls.

The school, a media arts college which caters for pupils aged 11 to 18, will be expanded from an eight form entry to a 12 form entry, with the new building set to accommodate Years 7, 8 and 9.

School governor Cllr Alan Weinberg, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The extra places are much needed. The 50 per cent increase in students will have a very positive effect on the area and the new building will give the younger years space to spread their wings.”

The school, which will begin work on the 101-room project in March, will increase each year group by 120 pupils, starting in September 2013 and the work is due to be finished by summer 2014.

Cllr Weinberg said: “Beal is a wonderful school and probably the best in the borough, in my opinion.

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“It was an obvious choice for expansion because of the land and because it is a super school.

“Schools will be getting larger.

“After cabinet agreed funding for the feasibility study, we can now see which other schools can be expanded and we will be looking at all 76 of them.”

He added: “The speed at which the number of school children is rising was a big surprise and we must ensure every child has a place.”

Since 2006, more than 6,000 primary school places and 1,410 secondary school places have been created in Redbridge.

Executive headteacher Sue Snowdon, who has already overseen a successful expansion in 1997, said: “One of the reasons why Beal was selected to lead the way was due to our outstanding success and experience.

“We are using our expertise to advise the schools in Redbridge that will be expanding in the future.”