Berkshire

Reading 900-pupil free school approved

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Image caption The school will be built on a former driving range on Richfield Avenue

A 900-place "free" school in Reading has been given the go-ahead by the education secretary.

Damian Hinds confirmed Maiden Erlegh Trust's application for the secondary school on land at Richfield Avenue had been successful.

The school will be built on a former golf driving range close to the town centre that was previously earmarked for a new outdoor activity centre.

Reading Borough Council has welcomed the decision.

Ashley Pearce, council lead for education, said: "We are delighted at the decision to approve the new school and that Maiden Erlegh Trust will be the academy chain chosen to run the school."

According to the Department for Education, there are currently more than 440 free schools nationwide, with 285 more set to open in the coming years.

About 70 free schools have closed or failed to open since the government began promoting them in 2010.

The new school in Reading is one of 22 announced by the education secretary on Friday.

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