Following our post last Saturday that revealed the existence of a plan by Essex County Council (ECC) to put another school in the already overcrowded Sawyers Hall Lane (“Are there really plans for a FIFTH primary school in Sawyers Hall Lane?” http://wp.me/p2dr6s-fL) the local press have been busy collecting statements and comments from interested parties.
The Brentwood Gazette’s coverage was spread across the front page and an inside section and a sample can be found here:
The Brentwood Weekly News have also covered the story here:
As part of their coverage, the Brentwood Gazette published comment from Educating Brentwood’s Stephen Mayo, the full text of which is reproduced below. We are following developments very carefully and believe that Essex County Council should be given the opportunity to present the reasons behind their plan to the Brentwood public before progressing any further. Any further news will be posted on this site as it occurs.
“Three weeks ago I wrote about the horrendous traffic problems that those taking children to schools in Sawyers Hall Lane encounter on a daily basis. I was therefore staggered to find out this weekend that Essex County Council are actually considering adding to them.
Based on projected, not actual, numbers of under 5 year olds ECC have apparently decided that there is a need for a new primary school in Brentwood.
Legally, new provision has to be created via a “free school” or academy route following the Academies Act 2010. This means that Essex CC would have to invite proposals to set up the school, private providers are the most likely to be interested.
There has long been an expectation that the former Sawyers Hall College site would house wider vocational options for our town’s young people however that has yet to come to pass. Now we learn that there is a suggestion that a new school should be placed there.
However, this conclusion ignores the fact that several primary schools in the borough are under subscribed currently and that a significant number of those attending schools already in Sawyers Hall Lane are not local to the area.
Setting up a new school could pull resources away from existing schools that are not full as funding is calculated per head of pupil.
As local residents are only too aware, traffic is already ridiculous in Sawyers Hall Lane during school run time. Primary schools create more traffic than Secondarys as older children a more likely to get to school under their own steam.
Many will recall the concern when St Helen’s moved their Infants into the street from their former home in Queens Road. Now this.
Because of the ramifications for current provision, the potential impact on residents and to ensure transparent and effective use of state funds, ECC should be engaging the wider community now.
I fear that ECC are pursuing a “solution” with those seeking to make a profit from state education before proving and gaining public agreement that there is a “need”.”