Ealing Council Announces Acton Schools Expansion Consultation

Too many children, too few school places

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Ealing Council has announced a consultation on schools in Acton, the part of the borough most in need of school places. Residents are being asked to give their views on proposals to increase the number of primary school places in Acton.

Up to five extra forms of entry are needed by 2014 in order to meet the needs of the local community - one form of entry is equivalent to 210 pupils, a class of 30 pupils in each year group. 

Possible options include permanently expanding some existing schools and turning the Priory Community Centre in Acton Lane and the West Acton Community Centre in Churchill Gardens into new primary schools. 

Ealing Council's press office issued a press release today saying "There has been a significant rise in demand for primary school places in the Acton area in the last few years due to an increase in the birth rate and more children seeking places at local schools.

There are now shortages of primary school places across the whole of Acton, but the area experiencing the most pressure is in central Acton, near to Derwentwater, East Acton, Southfield and West Acton primary schools."

The release said "Some schools have already taken in additional pupils on a temporary basis, but if the council doesn’t make plans to permanently increase primary school places, more local children will be forced to travel outside of their local area to go to school."

Councillor Patricia Walker, cabinet member for Children and Young People said: “There is a growing demand for primary places in this part of the borough and we need to take action now to ensure that children have access to a good, local school in the future.  Walker is also on the board of governors at Derwentwater Primary School in Acton Central, where a group of parents has re-launched an anti-expansion campaign.  Last year, members of D.A.R.E. (Derwentwater Action to Reject Expansion) mounted a campaign against expansion and fought off plans for a temporary classroom and an extra form.

But, it seems the problem of too many children and too few school places has not disappeared and this latest consultation seeks to address this as a permanent issue. 

Patricia Walker said, “Finding the space and resources to do this is a challenge, but instead of creating more temporary classrooms, we want to invest in the permanent expansion of buildings and facilities so that schools are fit for purpose.

“I hope that people will take the time to look at the options and tell us which ones they think will work best.”

A consultation on the establishment of a Catholic primary school in west Acton has recently concluded and the results will be published in the next two weeks.

To take part in the consultation, go to www.ealing.gov.uk/consultations or email hmorgansmith@ealing.gov.uk or call 020 8825 8315.

18 April 2011

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