Plans to create 1,340 new school places in Thurrock are expected to take another significant step forward, with sites set to be confirmed for two new schools next week.
Thurrock Council works closely with the borough's schools, the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) and the Department for Education to ensure there are enough school places to meet demand.
Next Wednesday the council's cabinet is expected to give the green light for land in Grays to be released to the ESFA for two new free schools.
Under the proposals, Orsett Heath Academy – a new 1,200-place secondary school run by the South West Essex Community Education Trust – would be built on land to the north west of Stanford Road in Grays.
Meanwhile, Treetops Special School – a 140-place all-through special school for pupils with autism and moderate learning difficulties – would be built on the former Torrells County Secondary School for Girls site in Buxton Road, Grays.
Cllr James Halden, Thurrock Council's portfolio holder for education and health, said: "We are committed to ensuring all children receive the best possible education and already have many excellent schools in Thurrock, with 94% currently rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.
"The borough is growing rapidly and with 32,000 new homes expected to be needed over the next 20 years, it is important we have the infrastructure in place to support that growth.
"These two new schools will be vital in ensuring that there are enough places to meet demand and all young people can achieve their aspirations in Thurrock."
Subject to the necessary approvals, it is hoped Treetops Special School will be completed in 2020/21 and Orsett Heath Academy in 2021/22.
Plans for the expansion of existing schools are also continuing to progress. St Clere's School in Stanford-le-Hope and the Ockendon Academy in South Ockendon will both expand by 150 places, with an extra 30 year 7 places available at each school from September. At primary school level, East Tilbury Academy will expand to accommodate an extra 30 pupils in reception from September, while Corringham Primary School is expected to expand to create an extra 30 reception places from September 2019 (210 extra pupils at each school once full).
Thurrock Council is also set to bring forward decisions relating to plans for two other proposed free schools:
- a new 900-place secondary school, which would be called Thames Park and run by the Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust
- a 420-place secondary school run by REAch2 Academy Trust
Decisions on both are expected to be made in July.