An extra 420 primary school places will be needed in Dunmow by 2017


- Credit: Archant

An additional 420 primary school places will be needed in Great Dunmow by 2017, Essex County Council has confirmed.

To cope with the onslaught of housing anticipated for the area, and an increase in birth rates, two extra forms of primary school provision will be required in the town.

It has not yet been decided if this will result in two new schools on different sites in Great Dunmow, or whether it will be one new-build, with a capacity to take 60 reception pupils. However, if all the housing comes to fruition as planned then the new places are expected to be needed by 2017/18.

Mayor of Great Dunmow, and former headteacher, Councillor Jonathan Cadwallader, expressed his concerns over the education provisions in the town.

He said: “ECC are saying the right things and if that happens, that’s wonderful. The danger of the situation is that the present schools get temporary classrooms to deal with the increasing population and that is not ideal.

“What we want is the schools to be built and ready by the time the children arrive. Due to the geography of the situation we do need two schools and I would like to see one on the south side of the town first.”

He added: “If one is built on the Barratts development first, then we are going to have three primary schools within a very close proximity on the western side of the town. Children will then be expected to walk across Dunmow to get to school.”

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At a community forum, in Great Dunmow, Julie Aitken, schools organisation and place planner commissioner at ECC, assured residents that “a school place will be available for every child that needs one”.

But she confirmed that one form entry will also be required in Takeley and Stansted.

The old primary school in Takeley, on Roseacres, is set to be reopened next year, while in Stansted the council will look at either expanding the current facilities or the other option would be to build a new school.

To help deal with growing numbers at present, an additional 30 reception places are being created at Felsted Primary School for next year.

She said: “We are seeing significant population growth in areas of Uttlesford but we do have plans in place to manage this.”