New free primary school given go ahead to be built in Great Dunmow

Construction of a new free school approved for Great Dunmow

Construction of a new free school approved for Great Dunmow - Credit: Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

Construction of a new primary free school has been approved for Great Dunmow, with the first intake of students planned for 2018.

The Smith’s Farm site, just off Chelmsford Road, will have 210 places for children aged four to 11 – but with the potential to expand further.

It is expected to open with a reception class of 30 in the 2018-19 academic year.

There will also be 26 places for pre-school children in an early years centre on the same site.

It will cost around £6.2million to build, of which £2.9m will be given by the developer Crest Nicholson which is building 370 homes on the Smith’s Farm site.

The contribution is part of a legal agreement, known as section 106 money, paid by developers when planning permission is granted for larger developments.

Ray Gooding, Essex county councillor for education, said: “We have approved the construction of the free school, because it’s been on our radar for a long time.

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“It’s absolutely important for more school places and we are looking at ultimately a two-form entry school, starting with 30 and then the school expands further when there is more housing.

“We know there is quite a bit of housing development planned, and it’s important to get the right balance for school places.”

The Department of Education will decide who runs the free school, but it has not yet ruled on the winning application.

Designs for the building have been submitted, but will be finalised at a later date after approval was given in late October.

There are currently two other primary schools in the area – Great Dunmow Primary and Great Dunmow St Mary’s Primary.

Town councillor Alexander Armstrong said: “Everything to do with new education places is marvellous, it’s wonderful, and I am all for a new primary school.”