More schools for Ipswich

IPSWICH is in line for more schools to cope with an expected population surge over the next decade, the government's children's secretary revealed today.

IPSWICH is in line for more schools to cope with an expected population surge over the next decade, the government's children's secretary revealed today.

Under current government targets an additional 15,900 homes - equal to the size of Bury St Edmunds - need to be built in the town by 2021.

Concern has been raised about how the town will cope, with pressure on schools being cited as an issue.

Ed Balls MP, who paid a visit to Ipswich's Stoke High School with the town's MP Chris Mole, said he realised Ipswich is a fast growing town and government is committed to providing schools where they are needed.

He said: “We keep an eye on population numbers every year and look at trends ahead. Ipswich starts discussions this spring about the schools for the future plan to rebuild and refurbish all schools.

“That will mean a number of schools right across the town and the county being rebuilt and refurbished. We will look at future trends to make sure we have got places and schools where people need them.

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“We will be spending more in the next ten years on capital investment than in the last 25 years. Ipswich has got a rising population and we will make sure we deliver schools where they are needed.”

During his tour of Stoke High School yesterday Mr Balls took the time to look at a number of technology projects designed by students at the school, a specialist technology school.

He said he was impressed with the quality of work and told the Star he envisages more specialist schools in the town in the future.

“It is important to make sure we have courses on offer which combine academic rigour and excellences with specialist learning in vocational subjects such as IT, engineering or health and beauty.

“It's good for different schools to have different specialities and by working together they can share those specialisms together.”

Mr Balls also said he supported the idea of a new £60million learning centre for 14 to 19-year-olds in Suffolk.

The centre, which is scheduled to open in September, 2010, is being developed on borough council-owned land at Scrivener Drive - near the Copdock Mill Tesco store - in Ipswich and will provide facilities for 2,200 students by 2014.

It will offer sixth form education for high schools across south and west Ipswich and south Suffolk, including Chantry, Stoke, Thurleston, Westbourne, Holbrook, Hadleigh, Claydon and East Bergholt.

Mr Balls said: “It looks very impressive and is a great commitment to deliver opportunities for all the young people across Ipswich.

“It is a model for other parts of the county.”

Does the future of education in Ipswich look rosy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

STUDENTS at Stoke High School can expect a return visit from the children's secretary depending on what they chose as their production next year.

After watching the school's production of Oliver Twist, Mr Balls said he suggested the students perform the popular Disney musical next year.

Mr Balls, who has three children with his wife Yvette Cooper MP, said: “I know all the words to it.”

“I said that myself and Chris would return next year to watch High School Musical if they decide to perform it.”