THURROCK is to get a new secondary school after an education trust’s free school bid was given the green light by the Government.
The new state secondary school, which will be built in Chafford Hundred and run by the Harris Federation - who already maintain the "outstanding" Harris Academy Chafford Hundred - will cater for around 1,150 pupils aged 11 to 18.
The new school project was one of just 38 to be given the backing of the Department for Education on Thursday and Prime Minister David Cameron, commenting specifically on the new school for Thurrock, called the Federation’s plans “commendable”.
He said: “I’m delighted that Harris Chafford Hundred Free School will be opening in Thurrock. Free schools, many of which are set up by parents and teachers, are around twice as likely to be rated outstanding by Ofsted as other schools.
“The plans this school has to support pupils by partnering with the nearby ‘outstanding’ Harris Academy Chafford to drive up standards, are truly commendable.
“As part of the Harris chain, the new free school will share curriculum teaching, pastoral care and administrative services with other highly successful schools.”
The Harris Academy Chafford Hundred is currenly one of the top performing secondary schools in the country, receiving three applications for every place.
The new school, which will be state funded but free from local authority control, will create 180 Year 7 places.
A steering group had been set up to gather support and develop plans for the school.
Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price was delighted on hearing the news and said the new school would give parents in West Thurrock and Chafford Hundred more choice.
She told the Gazette: “This will see the creation of more good quality school places in the west of the borough where they are much needed and shows that this Government is committed to providing the schools that parents want for their children.
The Harris Academy Chafford Hundred
“Parents shouldn’t be forced to accept a school place for their child which is not what they would choose for them. Sadly this is too often the case in Thurrock, especially in Chafford where the existing academy is oversubscribed.”
A primary free school opened at the Harris Academy Chafford Hundred in September, providing 60 additional primary school places.
Harris Chafford Hundred Free School will be Thurrock's eleventh secondary school.