FAILING primary schools in Basildon are struggling to attract pupils as worried parents send their children elsewhere.

Figures obtained by the Echo show that all four of the borough’s primary schools in special measures have fewer pupils then they should have.

Briscoe Primary Academy in Felmores End, Pitsea; Phoenix Primary School in Leinster Road, Laindon; Cherry Tree Primary in Church Road, Basildon and St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School in Elsenham Crescent, Basildon, are all undersubscribed.

Briscoe, which recently teamed up with Wickford C of E infant school to form an academy to drive up standards, has just 216 students on its roll despite space for 367.

Debbie Rogan, executive headteacher at Briscoe and Wickford C of E, said she was trying to attract parents back to the school.

She said: “Yes, the school is undersubscribed. It is about how the school encourages parents to come to the school which matters and the school is certainly heading in the right direction. We had a number of students join us in September and there is more interest which is very useful.

Phoenix has space for 420 pupils, but only has 271 pupils on its roll, while Cherry Tree also has capacity for 420, but boasts just ten more than Phoenix with 281 pupils. St Teresa’s has space for 210 pupils, but has 177 on its roll.

Noel Kelleway, Chairman of Basildon Action on Learning and Basildon Business Education Consortium said he believed the current primary school system was failing Basildon’s children and called on county and borough councils to “get to grips with the issue”.

He said: “It is often schools which are underperforming which attract low numbers. Whilst in theory low numbers may mean more individual attention, in the longer term funding is dependent upon numbers and low rolls may lead to inadequate provision of education. “It is incumbent upon all right minded people in the borough to address the issues facing young people, particularly those related to education.”