Essex is facing a schools crisis as new figures have revealed there are not enough places for all students.

In north Essex, there is expected to be a 273-place deficit for the reception year and Year 7 places in September 2020.

This includes 136 fewer Year 7 places than is needed in Colchester.

Across the town there is expected to be a total secondary places deficit of 885 in 2020/21 - rising to as much as 2,436 in 2023/24 if no action is taken.

Where there is a shortage of places it is understood pupils will be sent to the nearest school which has capacity.

Essex County Council is in the process of creating two new high schools in Colchester - the 900-place Paxman Academy which opens this September and the 900-place Trinity College which has been delayed until September 2021.

Both projects are planned to help tackle the foreseen deficit in places.

New data from the Government has revealed County Hall will create more than 10,000 school places by 2020/21 but that will still be more than 1,000 short on demand across the county.

The data also showed County Hall was expected to create 5,770 primary school places and 5,567 secondary school places in the next year.

But the figures revealed this would still be 970 short for primary school places and 330 for secondary schools.

Across the county there will be an estimated 11,490 spare places but they are not in areas which have the most demand.

The Gazette asked the council if there were plans in place to meet the 1,300 shortfall in places and what they were.

But the council would only refer to its ten year plan which sets out its expansion policy until 2028.

As part of the council’s ten year plan for 2019-2028 it needs to deliver an additional 8,757 additional primary places, and 12,410 secondary places.

There are plans for 15 schools to either expand or be built across north Essex in the next six years creating around 5,290 places.

This includes the two new high schools in Colchester and there will be three new primary schools for the town, each creating 420 places.

Manningtree High School is expected to be expanded next year to create a further 150 places and Colne Community College will expand in 2021/22 to add an extra 300 places.

There will also be 450 more secondary places created in Clacton, but no location has been confirmed.

Lawford Primary School and Mayflower Primary School in Dovercourt, Hamford Primary Academy and Alresford Primary School will all also expand.

A further 880 primary places will be created in Harwich, Frinton, Brightlingsea and Clacton by 2024/25.

County Hall’s ten year plan for schools said the “significant increase in demand” for school places in Essex was set to continue.

It said: “The total primary capacity last academic year was 122,100 places, with 115,217 children on roll (January 2018 census), and the total secondary capacity was 95,118 places with 84,672 children on roll (January 2018 census).

“This is an increase of 2,197 and 442 pupils since the same points in 2016 respectively.

“The number of pupils attending good or outstanding schools in Essex is increasing.

“Although the above figures point to a surplus in terms of capacity, in reality this is not the case as the available capacity is not all in the right areas or year groups.”

School expansions to cope with the school population boom in north Essex include:

  • Manningtree High School expanding 2020/21 to make 150 places
  • Colne Community School expands 2021/22 to make 300 places
  • Clacton expansion - no confirmed location 2020/21 - 450 places
  • Lawford Primary School expansion 2021/22 - 210 places
  • Mayflower Primary School, Dovercourt, 2021 to make 70 places
  • Harwich expansion no confirmed location 2022/23 - 210 places
  • Hamford Primary Academy in 2019/20 for 140 places
  • Frinton/Walton expansion 2024/25 for 210 places
  • Alresford Primary School 2019/20 - 70 places
  • Brightlingsea/Elmstead 2021/22 - 210 places
  • Clacton - new primary school - 2024/25 for 210 places
  • Paxman Academy 900 places
  • Trinity College 900 places and Trinity College primary school 420 places 2023/24 
  • Stanway Primary School 420 places
  • Central Colchester primary school 420 places 2021/22