Government projections predict that by next year Havering will need an extra 1,416 places, and by 2022 the London Borough of Havering will need 5,000 extra primary school places to accommodate the rising population. With this in mind Havering is using government grants to invest in a number of extension projects to increase capacity at existing schools.

Parsonage Farm Primary School in Rainham & Wennington is one of the schools that will be benefiting from this investment. However Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham suggests that the council should be calling for more power from government to set up new schools. Under Tory-led free school policy local authorities are currently blocked from building new schools. Jon has argued that extensions are only short term solutions, and that we need new schools by 2022.

Jon Cruddas commented: “Havering Council’s response to the projected shortage of school places in 2015, is in my opinion the wrong decision. I am a strong supporter of Parsonage Farm Primary School in Rainham; and I know many of the pupils live in the immediate area. Since its announcement local residents and parents have contacted me raising their concerns about the expansion.

“Considering the impact an expansion will have on the immediate area, I think it is a poor reflection on Havering Council that both myself as the MP for Rainham, and the local residents were not consulted. In the coming weeks and months I will be contacting Havering Council’s Chief Executive expressing my full support for the motion put forward by Independent Resident Group councillors in Rainham. The motion calls for a change in the law to grant councils the power to build new schools.

“The long term issue of school places is a problem that the Tory-led government should be doing more to solve and I will be taking local concerns to the highest levels. The Tories’ poorly conceived free school policy is not the answer, and neither is expanding existing schools. The government needs to devolve more power to councils so that they can address educational needs internally.”