Stansted school opens its doors to Harlow pupils who did not get places applied for

Acting headteacher of Forest Hall School Stephen Hehir

Acting headteacher of Forest Hall School Stephen Hehir - Credit: Archant

Disappointed pupils may get the education they wish for, after Stansted’s secondary school opened its doors to students at its sister academy in south-west Essex.

On Monday more than 300 Year 6 pupils from Harlow found out they had failed to get the place they applied for at Burnt Mill Academy, which accepted just 210 applicants this year.

But the rebranded Forest Hall Academy in Stansted – which since February 1 has been part of Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust (BMAT) – has since offered up to 30 prospective pupils of the 300 on the waiting list a chance to study there when the academic year begins in September.

Although Essex County Council (ECC) had cut free school transport for children travelling to Forest Hall from Elsenham, pupils from Harlow who take up a place at the academy will now get a 20-minute bus ride to the school.

Helena Mills, executive head of Burnt Mill, welcomed the move.

“I knew we wouldn’t be able to accommodate all the children who really wanted a place at Burnt Mill because we are full and have taken over our PAN (published admission numbers) in previous years,” she said.

“I know what we offer here is quite unique and that so many parents are desperate for their children to gain from the opportunities we offer. The only way to be able to accommodate more families is to offer places to families in our sister school, Forest Hall.”

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Ms Mills, who attributed the space at the Stansted school to less population growth in Uttlesford, said that one student from Harlow had already gained a place at Forest Hall.

Former Burnt Mill deputy head Stephen Hehir, who has been appointed as acting head at Forest Hall, formerly the Mountfitchet Maths and Computing College, added: “We are totally focused at Forest Hall School on ensuring all students have the opportunity to achieve the highest success.”

“For all students to make outstanding progress, each and every lesson we place outstanding teachers in front of them. The BMAT philosophy of high achievement for all is now a key part of life at Forest Hall School.”