Sparked off by the Caversham & District Residents' Association's (CADRA) meeting in October, a bid for a new primary school is being put together by a group of Caversham Heights parents.
CADRA hosts meetings on topical subjects, last month's being on the school places crisis. Kevin McDaniel, the RBC officer in charge of Education, was the evening's main speaker. There was an excellent turnout (I reckon over 100), not surprising as CADRA had advertised it well in advance and there have been school place oversubscription problems for years north of the river.
Kevin invited anyone interested in having a further meeting to discuss setting up a Free School* to get in touch. There was a great response and 20 came to the Grosvenor Pub including my Conservative colleague Cllr Ed Hopper and me. The shortage of primary school places hits families in the Ward areas we represent on Reading Borough Council.
The group's aim is to submit a bid before the 4 January 2013 deadline to open The Heights Primary in September 2014 as local schools are oversubscribed. Their bid will be for a Free School* and their intention is for it to be based upon the excellent primaries in the area.
If you live in Caversham and are concerned whether your child/ren will get into your existing catchment school (Caversham Primary, or Emmer Green/The Hill), do fill in The Heights Primary's questionnaire. For their bid to be successful they have to evidence that there is sufficient local demand. So even if this isn't relevant to you, do tell anyone for whom it would be.
You can read more about the group's plans on their website and also join their Facebook Group The Heights Primary, Caversham. Their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am extremely impressed by the parents' drive & determination and all they have achieved in just a couple of weeks.
* For more information about Free Schools here's the link to the relevant part of the Department for Education's website. All Saints Junior School was the first Free School to open in the borough, the success of which has spurred the successful bidders on to now look to putting in a bid to set up a secondary school WREN School Group - Reading. The National Autistic Society is opening a Free School for autistic children in Reading in September 2013, the same time that Reading UTC is opening. The UTC (University Technical College) for 14-19 year olds will specialise in computer science & engineering.