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According to official admissions figures released earlier this week, roughly one in six children in England did not get their first choice of secondary school. Behind the national average there were wide regional differences, with the lowest likelihood of getting a first place choice in London where only 68.8% of families received their first secondary school choice.

The importance of creating school places at new developments - by Andrew Carrington

As the scramble for primary and secondary school places grows more competitive, education provision is becoming an increasingly important factor that needs to be addressed, particularly in key growth areas. In many cases, the impact of schools extends far beyond the basic provision of education, with many becoming community hubs which play a crucial role in encouraging community integration, building family support networks and friendships. Schools within close proximity to both established and new communities not only make these elements come together more easily, but also make the school-run more convenient, healthier and safer.

As we strive to create places people love, it is our responsibility as developers to ensure that in planning new communities and regenerating existing ones, we properly consider the need for local educational facilities.  Planning for schools and nurseries from the outset provides all our residents with the facilities they need and we work closely with local communities and the Local Education Authorities who are ultimately responsible for overseeing this provision.

In Cambridge, our Great Kneighton community will see the doors to the new secondary school open this September. Trumpington Community College, which will cater for up to 750 pupils, will have a science specialism, extensive sports facilities to be shared with the whole community, and a Special Educational Needs (SEN) and autism centre. Nearby Fawcett Primary School is also being extended to provide more places for September’s intake and a further primary school is also planned later in the development.

At East City Point in London E16 we invested £7.4m in the new Keir Hardie Primary School which is a key part in the regeneration of Canning Town. The school, which sits at the heart of East City Point, includes a new square and a range of facilities that are shared with local residents for a variety of community uses. The flourishing school recently held a Community Fair (pictured above) which we helped to support.

At Beaulieu in Chelmsford, where we are building 3,600 new homes, we have included an extensive range of community facilities in our plans, including two primary schools, a secondary school. With the first residents now having moved into the development, we are working closely with Essex County Council to ensure the schools are delivered at the earliest opportunity. Residents with younger children can also take advantage of the Bright Horizons day nursery, currently under construction in Beaulieu Square.

St. Edburg’s Church of England Primary School has recently re-located to Kingsmere, in Bicester. The school, one of the oldest and only Church of England schools in Bicester, has doubled in size to 400 pupils so it can accommodate children from our Kingsmere development. The new state-of-the-art school includes an outdoor learning space, a multi-use games area, sports pitches, sensory gardens and a nursery play area.

Elsewhere, we will shortly be redeveloping the existing Hounslow Town Primary School, a key site in the regeneration of the town centre, replacing it with a brand new primary school and at least 250 new mixed-tenure homes set in attractively landscaped public open space.

At Countryside, we know how important it is to meet the longer term needs of educational places across our larger developments whether they are part of new or regenerated communities. Whilst the emergence of free schools and academies has added an additional layer of complexity, through our track record and experience we believe we are well placed to meet this challenge going forward.

Why not find out what how Countryside also provides leisure facilities to fit with the lifestyles of our home buyers here.


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Andrew Carrington,
Managing Director - Strategic Land

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About this blog

Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.

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