Thousands of pupils are set to return to new and improved schools today, thanks to Essex County Council's ambitious plans to meet growing demand for school places across the county.
The council is investing £315million in creating new school places, with £75 million of this being spent on completing new schools and expansion projects in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.
2,325 primary places and 1,110 secondary places have been created across several sites in Essex, with 510 further places available following the completion of two more projects in Chigwell and Hockley later in 2018.
Ongoing investment in both mainstream and special school places reiterates the council's commitment to ensuring the educational needs of all pupils remain a top priority and that the current and future needs of the county's growing population can be met.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We have a very strong track record in investing in school places across the county which is the reason why, year-on-year, we are able to offer so many parents their top preference of school for their child.
“Each project completed this year has been carefully selected and with the demand for places only set to continue moving forward, we are working hard to ensure we are prepared to meet it, particularly in rapidly growing areas such as Colchester.
“I am delighted we are able to welcome so many pupils back to new and improved school facilities this year and would like to thank everyone involved in planning and delivering these projects - I look forward to continuing our work in the future."
The council's intentions for the creation of new school places across the county are set out in its ten-year plan - Meeting the demand for school places in Essex 2018 - 2027 – which provides the background to school place planning, including the anticipated demand for places in each district, as well as likely solutions.