Wednesday, 3 October 2012

School places in east Reading, public meeting and what next

Last week there was a public meeting on school places in east Reading at Alfred Sutton school. It was well attended, informative – sort of – and frustrating for some.

The meeting started with a presentation on school places. The headlines are that we currently don't have enough primary school places – which has temporarily been dealt with through bulge classes – and that by 2015 we run out of secondary school places.

We then moved on to comments and questions. A variety of subjects work covered – University Technical College, Crescent Road site, housing developer, playing fields etc.

One of the interesting things that came out of the question and answer session was that Labour who in the past have been critical of the University Technical College were now saying "it is going ahead, support it". Planning permission has not been granted yet though.

It took a while to prise the options the council was considering from the administration. But they seem to be as follows. Option one, a free school on the small bit of the Crescent Road site which a housing developer currently owns. To fit it in it would need to be three stories high! Option two, council to borrow £15 million and spend it on a community school on the same site.

Towards the end of the meeting the MP for Reading East's representative spoke. She said that he is currently pursuing another free school for children from 11 to 16 in the east of Reading. Unfortunately the community is not being involved in the development of this school and no further details were given. A public meeting was promised at some unspecified date in the future.

In conclusion I thought it was a reasonable meeting – although a bit unstructured – as I learnt more about what the different stakeholders are getting up to.

Since the meeting the local community through the Parents for Education in East Reading – via the Facebook group – have organised a meeting to brainstorm free school ideas. Join the Facebook group to find out more.

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