Berkshire

Reading council buys land for new school to solve shortage

Primary school pupil
Image caption In 2013, 1655 out of 2138 primary school pupils were offered their parents' first preference in Reading

Land has been bought which could house a new secondary school in Reading amid a shortage of pupil places.

Reading Borough Council has purchased the site in Crescent Road from a housing developer.

The authority predicts secondary schools will be full by 2017 with the latest Census figures showing a big rise in children aged up to four.

The council said it would welcome proposals from parents to build a free school on the new site.

'Game-changer'

The location would mean children had access to playing fields and the chance to share resources with Alfred Sutton Primary School and the new University Technical College (UTC).

The council, which has not revealed how much it paid for the site, had hoped the college could help ease its secondary school place demand by accepting 11 to 16-year-olds but this was rejected by the government.

Ward councillor Rob White said: "We have been working hard to keep this land in education use and fight off houses on this site.

"Having this land available for a new secondary school in East Reading is a game-changer for residents."

Councillor John Ennis, member for education, said: "Despite having to make savings of approximately £40m over the next few years, children's education remains a key priority within the spending plans of the council."

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