Headteachers criticise plans for six additional classes across two secondary schools

Brampton Manor Academy

Brampton Manor Academy - Credit: Archant

Headteachers across Newham have raised concerns about plans to expand two of the borough’s secondary schools.

Brampton Manor Academy

Brampton Manor Academy - Credit: Archant

Cabinet members approved a proposal to add an additional six forms of entry to Brampton Manor Academy and Forest Gate Community School during a meeting in April.

But headteachers at 12 other secondary schools have now written a joint letter to Newham Council’s chief executive, Kim Bromley-Derry, outlining issues they have with the decision.

The letter, which has been seen by the Recorder, claims that there has been no risk assessment on whether the expansion, costing £29 million will have “a serious impact on other schools in the borough, including the possibility of one or more having to close”.

The headteachers claim that both Brampton Manor and Forest Gate have been permitted by the council to admit a total of 85 extra pupils in the past two years, with five other schools below their numbers as a consequence.

They state: “While this might be acceptable to hardline advocates of school choice, it is in the medium term a recipe for creating sink schools.”

The letter also says that there “is no rationale for why, even if six additional forms of entry were required,” these should be in just two schools, and says it does not take into consideration the “serious deficiencies” in special educational needs (SEN) provision.

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It says it is “of serious concern that the cabinet was invited to sign off such recommendations in a report which did not set out some of the key issues”.

A Newham Council spokeswoman said: “The council has already delivered a multi-million primary school expansion programme to create 45-50 forms of entry and will now need to expand our secondary schools to meet this ongoing demand.

“The council consulted secondary school head teachers about plans to meet the growing demand for secondary school places. The responses received from these consultation exercises were included in the report to Newham Council’s Cabinet in April.

“Newham Council refutes the allegations that there are ‘serous deficiencies’ in current SEN provision. The council intends to retain a tiered approach to SEN provision, with the majority of students educated in mainstream school.”