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New funding pledged to create 13,000 new school places in Essex

07/02/2017 Joanna

Essex County Council has announced plans to allocate more than £300 million to aid the creation of around 13,000 school places across the region, in order to meet growing demand.

Of this total, £230 million will 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. The local authority will work with developers and district, borough and city councils to ensure housing developers help fund school projects.

Meanwhile, up to £85 million will be spent on creating more than 400 new special school places, with £42 million allocated by the Essex Schools Forum and £43 million coming from Essex County Council capital funding.

This marks a record investment in special school places, and comes in response to a recent rise in the number of young people in the county being diagnosed with autism, leading to increased demand for special education.

Councillor Ray Gooding, Essex County Council's cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: "We are committed to ensuring young people in Essex receive the best possible education and their individual needs are met.

"Our strong track record in investing in new school places has meant the vast majority of pupils have continued to be offered a place at one of their parents' preferred schools."

The council has already invested millions of pounds to create more than 5,500 new places across the county during the last two academic years. About 2,200 more are due to be available from September 2017, following the completion of a series of school expansion projects across Essex.

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