New Hackney Olympic Park school to open next year - but is there enough pupil demand?

A new school is set to open in the Olympic park next year, but questions have been raised as to whether there will be enough children in the area to fill the places.

Mossbourne Community Academy will run the primary school which is due to open next year in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The school is one of three planned for the park in Hackney’s East Wick – one of its five new neighbourhoods.

Hackney Council worked with the London Legacy Development Corporation to secure funding from the Department for Education.

Proposals were invited from interested organisations, and the DfE announced last Thursday (12 December) that Mossbourne – which is also set to open Mossbourne Victoria Park secondary school next September - has been selected to run the school. Cllr Rita Krishna, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said in a statement: “We are delighted that such a strong provider has been appointed and look forward to working with Mossbourne to set up another successful Hackney primary school.

“There is already pressure on school places in Hackney, so it’s good news this school has been given the go-ahead in a place where lots of families will soon be settling, and great to see another key element of the borough’s Olympic legacy taking shape.”

But Paul Charman, from pressure group Olympic Games Monitor pointed out that although the school is set to open next year, the first homes at East Wick will not be occupied till 2016.

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He said: “I wonder who’ll be going there in the meantime, though I doubt there’ll be as many families with children in the new housing as they make out.

“It will be in direct competition with Gainsborough which is a couple of hundred metres away - according to edubase Gainsborough has 540 places but only 505 pupils so it doesn’t seem like a location that desperately needs a new school.”

Cllr Krishna said however that the council has looked into the number of children expected to live in the new homes, and is working with the LLDC to ensure there is not an over provision of places at either school in the first few years of the new school opening.

East Wick will see a mix of homes, commercial use and local amenities to compliment the nearby Copper Box Arena and iCITY tech hub.