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Thousands of unfilled school places revealed
6:00am Monday 16th December 2013 in News
BASILDON’S secondary schools have almost 2,000 spare places, new figures have revealed.
The statistics, obtained by the Echo from Essex County Council, reveal a total of 1,881 unfilled places in the ten secondary schools in Basildon, Billericay and Wickford. Latest forecasts predict this could reach 2,014 next year.
The two Basildon Academies alone have a total of 1,501 empty desks between them, with the Upper Academy almost halfempty, with 733 pupils in the 1400- place school. At the Lower Academy, 516 of the 1,350 places are vacant.
The New Campus Basildon Studio School, which opened in September, has 242 spare places.
Concerns have been raised that poor standards are creating a mass-exodus, as parents look for better schools outside the borough.
Five secondary schools are currently ranked “satisfactory” or worse by Ofsted and this year, a fifth of Basildon’s Year 7 pupils in Basildon opted to go the schools outside the borough.
Ray Gooding, county councillor responsible for education admitted: “Education in Basildon has been a concern for a few years.
“We have worked hard to assist schools and advise on improvements.
This has proved more difficult in the case of academies, as we have limited powers to intervene.
“Over the past year, we have worked hard with Basildon schools and Basildon Council to identify action to improve education in the borough. We are fully committed to improving education for children in Basildon and hope continued efforts will result in even more parents choosing to send their children to local schools.”
Basildon Council wants to allow 12,500 new homes in the borough over the next 18 years, and anticipates a need for five new primary schools and one new secondary in the borough.
Council leader Tony Ball said: “The key to addressing the problem is raising standards to encourage pupils to attend local schools.”
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