Secondary schools in Chiswick, Heston and Isleworth are the first in the borough to have their expansion plans backed with money from the London Borough of Hounslow.
Responding to its statutory duty to the Department for Education, the Borough’s Cabinet last night (Tuesday 10 February) approved a recommendation by the Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Tom Bruce to release the initial funding for Phase One of a programme which will run until 2020.
The total cost of expansion at the three schools in Phase One is £17.9m. The new construction will allow Chiswick to expand from 7.2 to 9 Form Entry (FE), Heston Community from 6.5 to 8 FE and Isleworth and Syon from 5.8 to 8 FE, all by September 2017. This is a big step towards the achieving the estimated places needed to meet the demand by 2019.
The Cabinet has approved the Cabinet Member to work with the Chief Financial Officer to progress procurement talks in order to eventually award construction contracts to firms to carry out the expansion works.
The School Expansion programme was developed following a report to Cabinet in September last year outlining how the continued growth in the number of children in Hounslow would result in the need for additional secondary school places.
If required, further capacity can be provided by ‘bulge classes’ at Feltham Community College – one off extra classes which are not permanent. The outcome of applications to build two new Free Schools in Hounslow to provide a maximum further 12 FE will be known in March.
The Cabinet was also updated on the work done since the expansion project was started, including the creation of a secondary places planning group made up of officers from the children’s services and regeneration and environment directorates along with all the secondary school headteachers.
Members recently approved a request to allow officers to publish statutory notices to expand the Special Education Needs (SEN) schools Marjory Kinnon and Oaklands.
Cllr Bruce said:
“Expanding secondary school capacity to meet the growing demand means that we will be able to offer as many children as possible a local school place in their home authority.
“The expansion programme is part of our investment in education – ensuring that there will be an even better choice of schools for local children, helping us to provide them with the best start in life”.