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Work starts on new school as Council spends £104m on creating thousands of school places

22 May 2018

Construction work has started on a new secondary school as the Council pushes ahead with plans to spend £104 million creating thousands of new school places in Essex.

Work has officially started on the brand new 900-place secondary school after demolition finished on the site of the former Alderman Blaxhill School in Colchester. 
 
The new school will be sponsored by The Sigma Trust, which already sponsors three secondary schools and two primary schools in the town, including The Stanway School, Thomas Lord Audley School and St Helena School. 

The work forms part of the Council’s budgeted plans to spend £104m this year to create 2,750 new school places.

The new building, which will be completed in time for the first cohort of pupils in September 2019, will house more than 20 classrooms, a sports hall, library and a suite of science labs and technology workshops. 

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We have an excellent track record of investment in new school places, including spending millions on new places for the new 2018/19 academic year.
 
“As a result, we were able to offer over 93% of pupils a place at their parents’ first or second preference of secondary schools for this September.
 
“We recognise that more investment is still needed to keep pace with the population growth in Essex and plan to spend a further £230m on creating new school places over the next three years.

“The new secondary school in Colchester is a big part of that and I am delighted construction has now started and that a sponsor has been appointed.”

Jeff Brindle, CEO of the Sigma Trust, added: “The Sigma Trust is proud and excited to be announced as the sponsor for the new academy. The schools within The Sigma Trust have a long history of working with Alderman Blaxill School and the wider community and we very much look forward to building on this relationship. 
 
“We will be consulting with local representatives on the proposed name and will provide further details of our vision for the school in the next few weeks. The Sigma Trust is a local partnership of seven schools in North East Essex that have a long history of working together to achieve the best possible outcomes for all students.”
 
Notes to editors:

  • Essex County Council spent about £12.6million on creating 600 extra secondary school places in the area for September 2017, with expansion projects completed at both The Stanway School and Philip Morant School and College. 
  • The Council has also spent £30m on primary school projects in Colchester since September 2014.
  • £315m was announced in last year's budget, which includes up to £85million which will be spent on creating more than 400 new special school places across Essex - £42million of which has been allocated by the Essex Schools Forum and £43million of Essex County Council capital funding. The record investment in special school places comes amid an increase in the number of young people in the county being diagnosed with autism and a growing demand for special school places. In addition to the funding for special needs, £230million will also be spent on new mainstream school places over the next three years, enabling the council to create 7,200 primary and 5,400 secondary places by September 2019.