Priti visits the new Lakelands Primary School in Stanway
Witham MP Priti Patel has today (11th September) visited the new 420-place Lakelands Primary School in Wagtail Mews, Stanway, Colchester. Construction of the £6.5million school, which has been part-funded by Essex County Council (ECC) and S106 funding, started in October 2019 but Barnes Construction were required to pause works during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, it is now nearing completion, with the opening expected after the half-term holiday in October.
25 pupils have already started in Reception this month and ECC has arranged for this initial group to be taught in temporary accommodation at Stanway Fiveways Primary School, until their own school can open its doors.
Lakelands Primary School, like all new schools, will be an Academy School, sponsored by The Chelmsford Learning Partnership Trust, who already sponsor seven schools in Essex. ECC received final notification from the Department for Education in June, that the school could open this year.
Priti Patel who supported the proposals for the new school, was given a tour of the site by Mrs Koulla Anslow, the Lakelands Head Teacher and Paul Banks, Chief Executive of Chelmsford Learning Partnership and a team from Barnes Construction.
Commenting after her visit, Priti said: “As a long-term supporter of the school, it is heartening to see this project nearing completion. A great many new homes are being built in Stanway and this kind of infrastructure is badly needed to support the population growth we are seeing. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has held things up but I congratulate everyone involved in keeping the project going by making alternative arrangements for the Reception pupils who started last week and by getting the construction work underway again.
“To be only a half-term behind, given all the difficulties created by the pandemic, is exceptional and I wish Lakelands Primary School every success in the future. I look forward to visiting it again when it is fully open.”
Cllr Ray Gooding, ECC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We are extremely pleased that construction of Lakelands Primary School is now back on track and will shortly be ready to welcome pupils. We know just how much additional primary school places are needed in Colchester and now that work has resumed, it won’t be long before pupils are able to enjoy their new facilities.
“We continue to plan for new school places in the town to meet current and future demand and have a strong track record of creating new places across the county – investing £53million in 2020/21 alone. I would like to congratulate everyone involved on getting us to this stage and look forward to seeing the school once it is finished.”
Commenting on Priti Patel’s visit, Lakelands Headteacher, Koulla Anslow said: “It was a pleasure to show Priti around and talk about our vision for the school. She has supported Lakelands from the outset and we welcomed the opportunity to show her how well it is progressing. We are proud to belong to such a supportive community who have helped us reach this stage, and even more so of our pupils who have already settled into school life brilliantly. We are all very excited about being able to open in our permanent home next month.”