|My children in 2001|
Thursday, 4 July 2013
Education & Excellence
Many parents in
have had a poor lot for far too long
as far as education for their children is concerned. An historic lack of
strategic planning by the Labour-led Borough Council and a resulting shortage
of places at the best schools has led to widespread parental dissatisfaction
and many children forced to attend schools out of Reading . Reading
Over a decade ago, on offer day, I remember how shocked I was not to be offered a place at either of my two local in-catchment primary schools for my son. Both schools had good reputations, so my husband and I didn’t mind which we were offered, but to have no place whatsoever was alarming and unsettling.
After several anxious weeks, eventually our son was offered a place at our nearest local primary. Naively we thought our school admissions problems were over. However, after he started school the catchment areas were changed by the Council, so our younger child was unlikely to be able to go to her brother’s primary, even though we hadn’t moved house!
Another parent and I then researched the town’s birth rate and proved the local schools north of the river were likely to continue to be oversubscribed every year. We campaigned for siblings like my daughter to have protection and after some months, we were successful. The Labour administration was forced to concede and correct this blatantly unfair admission rule.
Generally however, even back in 2001 there was an annual problem of families in parts of the town failing to get places at their catchment school because of the Labour administration’s failure to deal with the evident lack of places. It was also an era when too many
failing to provide the quality of education expected by parents across the
My experience highlighted to me the importance of providing sufficient school places for children to be able to be with their older siblings in the same primary as each other, and of course for all schools to be offering a good standard of education. I became a Conservative Councillor because I was determined to do what I could to make this become a reality in
It was the Conservatives on Reading Borough Council who supported my campaign back in 2001 and it is a Conservative-led Government which is now leading the way in allowing for more school places and for school improvement. Where the Labour Council has failed to improve
’s schools and
failed to build the new schools necessary to meet the demand, the Government’s
reforms mean motivated and engaged parent groups, backed in some cases by
specialist education providers, can address the shortfall. This
Government’s transformation of the education system is enabling the conversion
of poorly-rated primaries into new academy primaries, the expansion of high
performing existing schools and, where there is the demand, the opening of new
free schools. Reading
I believe a good education, which supports each child to reach their full potential and prepares them for adulthood, in a setting that best suits their individual needs, is what the vast majority of parents want and expect.
From September 2013 teenagers will have the opportunity of going to the new East Reading University Technical College (UTC) where expertise from its IT and engineering sponsors will provide an up-to-the-minute education to complement the national curriculum. Rob Wilson MP led the way in getting this exciting new type of school for
has engaged and energised students which the regular secondary system often
fails to engage. Reading
Also in September 2013 a new
School for pupils with autism will
open, filling a gap between main stream and special schools which will
complement the Ofsted-rated “Outstanding” on the adjacent
site. Avenue School
In September 2014 the West Reading Education Network (WREN) Group is set to open a new secondary school in West Reading, with The Heights Group set to open a new primary school serving
. Both are Free Schools
which would not have been opened under any other Government; they will provide
much needed capacity and are supported by a ground swell of parental and
community support as well as their respective Conservative Members of
Parliament. Caversham Heights
Only the Conservatives have a track record of enabling parents to deliver choice and excellence in education. If you share our aspiration for a better education for all of our children in a school that suits their needs please join us in campaigning for more free schools and academies, free from the dead hand of Reading Labour Party’s control.