A MUCH-LOVED school in Basildon which parents say looks and feels “like a private school” has been revealed to be the fifth hardest primary to get into in Essex.

New figures have revealed that only 60.5 per cent of first-place preferences were offered a place at Lee Chapel Primary School, in Basildon.

The school is under the Lee Chapel Multi-Academy Trust which runs a number of other successful schools in the borough.

It is also set to be the trust for the new school coming to Basildon, called Chapel Hill Primary and Nursery school, in Dry Street.

Construction is already underway on the new £10million school and nursery which has a proposed opening date of autumn next year.

Sue Jackson, the CEO of the Lee Chapel Multi-Academy Trust and headteacher of Lee Chapel, believes Lee Chapel appeals to parents because it is “different” to other schools.

She said: “We are relentless in our pursuit of excellence for our wonderful pupils.

“I have been headteacher of Lee Chapel for 24 years and get to work with an amazing group of staff and have secured a mutually supportive partnership with our parents and community.

“We are relentless in our pursuit of opportunities to enable our pupils to find their ‘magic’, whether that be on the stage, the sports field, in the swimming pool or dance studio.

“When children shine in extra-curricular pursuits they become confident and successful scholars and in doing so improve their life chances.”

Chapel Hill will be the locality “sister” to Lee Chapel and Ms Jackson says it will be run to the “high standards” of Lee Chapel.

She added: “As sponsor of the new school we have a very clear idea of what the outstanding provision will look like at the various stages of the school’s development, and we have the capacity and resources to achieve this.

“We have developed robust school improvement processes which ensure that teaching and learning is of the highest standard and guarantees that children achieve well and have improved life chances.

“Lee Chapel Trust has the necessary financial expertise and reserves and the ability to plan strategically to support the new school during its growth and development.

“Every time a visitor exclaims that one of our academies looks and feels like a private school, we know we are doing the very best for our pupils and communities.”