Essex village to get new £10m school by 2025

Essex County Council is set to agree a contribution of £10 million to deliver a new school in Dunmow. The council says that given the rate of house building in Dunmow a new primary school is required by 2027 but neither of the two existing primary schools can accommodate further temporary or permanent expansion.

The primary school's construction is expected to start in September 2024 with plans to have it ready for the start of the school year in September 2025. The secondary school element of the all-through school is due to be ready to accept students in October 2026.

However, before an agreement is made to require the landowner to transfer the playing field site to the Secretary of State for Education the council has to enter into a legal agreement with the DfE for it to construct the school. In order to do this, the DfE has asked Essex County Council to pay £10m towards the cost of the All Through School on land off Buttleys Lane.

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The total capital cost to Essex County Council is £9.9 million funded by £6.5 million of received s106 developer contributions and £3.4 million of anticipated S106 contributions. This is an increase of £2.2 million to the capital programme. The cost increase is driven by inflation and historic expenditure associated with design, surveys and fees with the Saffron Academy Trust - responsible for the existing Helena Romanes secondary school - and which will run the new all-through school

A statement as part of a decision set to be made next week at Essex County Council cabinet said: "Both primary schools in Great Dunmow - Dunmow Primary and Dunmow St Mary’s - are full and over capacity across all year groups. Additional primary school capacity as part of the proposed learning village will be able to alleviate the pressure in higher year groups, should we require the school to open up additional classes to accommodate these children.

"To address this Helena Romanes School propose to create a new learning village that will consist of three elements – primary, secondary and sixth form (with potential for Early Years in the future), and will operate as an all-through school where a single school provides multiple phases of a child’s education. The benefits of all-through provision is that standards of learning are more likely to be consistent with children staying in the same trust.

"Transition between primary and secondary school is easier as children remain at the same school and are already familiar with surroundings and what happens at Year 7. Benefits to the trust are there are shared resources, staff and facilities across all three educational phases.”