Thurrock is to get a major boost in school places after the Government agreed to support a new secondary school in Grays.

The Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust said it was “delighted” that the Department of Education had backed their plans to build the Thames Park Secondary School on land adjacent to Palmer’s College in Chadwell Road, Grays.

The approval means the Government will provide funding for the new 900-place school and the next step for the trust will be to gain planning permission so that building work can begin.

However, the first intake of pupils is expected in September next year, with 120 pupils learning from a temporary teaching block adjacent to South Essex College campus in Grays until the school is completed.

The trust said it hopes to model the school on St Clere’s Secondary School in Stanford-Le-Hope, which was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in December 2018.

Conservative Councillor James Halden, Thurrock Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “Demand for secondary school places is increasing and, together with our partners, we are investing more than £70million to create over 3,500 new school places in the borough.

“The Thames Park Secondary School proposals are a big part of our plans and I am delighted that a site has now been secured. I look forward to continuing to work with the Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust and the Department for Education on this important project, which will create 900 much-needed new school places in Grays.”

Labour Councillor John Kent also welcomed the news but said he is concerned about the council’s “disjointed and chaotic” approach to delivering school places.

He said: “Now that this new school is finally being delivered, after a couple of years of disjointed and chaotic planning which included the ridiculous, flawed and ultimately aborted plans to build on the Elm Road Open Space, I am pleased to see that the Osborne Co-operative Trust is finally being given the opportunity to start this school.

“There is no doubt that the borough needs new secondary school places and I wholeheartedly welcome this announcement.”

Mr Kent went on to say he was pleased the new school would be operated by the Osborne Trust due to its reputation of delivering schools for “the right reasons” but cautioned the introduction of academies in the borough has left many schools in a “real mess with significant financial problems”.

A six-week public consultation on the plans will begin on Monday.