Ambitious plans to spend more than £360m on creating thousands of new school places in Essex have been approved as part of Essex County Council’s budget.
The council has a strong track record of delivering additional places and created 3,150 spaces for the 2015/16 academic year.
Despite the financial challenges it faces, the authority has reiterated its commitment to ensuring the county has sufficient places to meet the rising demand by approving plans to spend £364m over the next three years, including £49.8million in 2016/17.
The money will fund building projects including new schools in Chelmsford, Harlow and Stansted Mountfitchet, as well as various school expansions.
2,195 new school places will be created for the 2016/17 academic year, with thousands more being delivered in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
In addition to the capital spending on creating new school places, a further £9.4million will be spent on other education-related projects.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Essex is growing rapidly and the demand for school places in the county is also continuing to rise.
“We have a fantastic track record of investing significant funds to ensure we have the spaces needed to meet that demand and these proposals illustrate our continued commitment to that.
“Moving forward, we are planning to spend about £400million over the next five years, including more than £80million on delivering new special school places.”