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Beckton headteacher on the challenge of seeing pupil intake almost double in just two years

PUBLISHED: 17:30 08 July 2013

The Duchess meets Paul Jackson, head teacher at Gallions school

The Duchess meets Paul Jackson, head teacher at Gallions school

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Gallions Primary School in Beckton will have seen its intake grow by 40 per cent by 2015 but Headteacher Paul Jackson is prepared for the challenges ahead.

Lunchtime Winter concert featuring the school's choir and the orchestra at Gallions Primary SchoolLunchtime Winter concert featuring the school's choir and the orchestra at Gallions Primary School

Newham Council asked the Warwall school whether it would take on an additional form of entry in 2009.

So the school welcomed another 100 reception children allocated from all across the borough.

Even though there was some initial grumbling from parents having to travel to take their children to school, Mr Jackson said their concerns faded away very quickly.

He said: “I had one parent come up to me and say, ‘look, this wasn’t my first school of choice for where we live but now I really want my child to stay here because I like the school and what you’re doing’.

“In an ideal world, we want every pupil to go to their local school and the education at that school should be good, we shouldn’t have oversubscribed schools at all.”

As part of the Primary Schools Expansion programme, the council has built six new classrooms at Gallions to accommodate more students and the school expects its intake to reach 700 over the next two years.

Mr Jackson added: “I think the council has done really well. I am a parent in East Ham and I have two children at a school that’s being expanded. The parents I speak to seem to think it hasn’t disrupted their child’s learning.

“It all seems to have been managed very well when it had the potential to be a very challenging situation.

“I think now the thing we really need to push for is getting siblings into the same schools.

“Some families have two or three children in different schools and that’s just not realistic but it’s also about how we keep parents informed of the changes ahead.”

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