Orsett Heath Academy confirmed to open in September 2020

Orsett Heath Academy has received formal approval from the Department for Education (DfE) to open for year 7 students in September 2020.

The South West Essex Community Education Trust (SWECET) has received formal confirmation that the new academy has ‘approval to open’. This means that SWECET can now enter into a lease agreement with Thurrock Rugby Football Club (TRFC) and start construction on the interim academy building immediately. The interim building will be built adjacent to the existing TRFC building and facilities that will be enhanced as part of the project. The new academy will open in September 2020 and provide 120 crucial Year 7 places.

The academy will then move across to a new purpose-built, state of the art building once it is completed. The interim building will remain in joint use for educational and sports provision in partnership with TRFC, providing a lasting legacy, enhancing education, sport and recreation as an ‘Institute of Sport’.

Parents and pupils are invited to attend an open evening at 7pm on Wednesday 20th November 2019 at William Edwards School to find out how they can apply for a place in Year 7 next year. The application window for Orsett Heath Academy will be extended beyond the local authority’s deadline for other schools which ends later this month.

Steve Munday, Chief Executive of SWECET, said: “We are delighted to finally have the ‘approval to open’. This means we can go ahead with construction of the interim building with our partners at Thurrock Rugby Club. We know how vital new school places are to the borough, and despite some setbacks, we have been determined to open the academy and provide our community with an excellent new school.”

“I very much look forward to the building work commencing and finally being able to welcome our first cohort of Year 7 students in 2020. Thank you to all those who have supported us in the community, at TRFC and at the Local Authority to make these crucial school places a reality”

Andy Stanford, Chairman of Thurrock Rugby Club said: “Thurrock Rugby Club are delighted to be working with SWECET on this important and exciting project. We are pleased that work will soon start and look forward to seeing the building and other developments taking shape”

Cllr James Halden, Cabinet Member for Education and Health, said: “This is great news for Thurrock’s young people. The new academy will provide an additional 1,200 pupil places when full.

“Thurrock Council has already committed £3million for a temporary building to ensure the school opens next academic year, which will then become a great joint resource with the rugby club. In addition, Cabinet have added an additional £1million to the capital plan for additional highway works in Blackshots to help new schools become a comfortable part of the local community.

“The council and partners are investing over £70million to create over 3,500 new school places whilst adding and improving sports facilities. This illustrates our ongoing commitment to working with schools and the local community to ensure young people in the borough get the best possible education.”