The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has today approved the Business case and Plan for the All Saints Junior Free School. In a letter to local Reading West MP Alok Sharma the Secretary of State wrote:
“Thank you for your note of 17 March about the All Saints Junior proposal and for the support you have offered both CfBT and the All Saints Action Group. I am pleased to tell you I have now approved the business case and plan the group submitted...The approval of the business case allows the proposers to begin to make real progress on their pupil admissions, staff recruitment and consultation...with the aim of becoming one of the first Free Schools to open in September 2011.”
Alok Sharma said: “I have worked with the All Saints Action Group (ASAG) over the past year and been involved in meetings with the ASAG, CfBT and the Department of Education, as well as discussions with Ministers on this proposal. Having been present at the inception of the new school’s idea I am absolutely thrilled for ASAG and CfBT who have worked so hard to make the junior school a reality and I am full of admiration for the ASAG parents who have demonstrated perseverance, resilience and commitment over a long twelve months.”
Alok added: “The approval of the business plan for this project to create up to 120 places in the junior school, is another step towards making the new school a reality and I will continue to offer this project my fullest support as it moves forward into its final exciting stage. Reading needs more school places and the creation of this school will help that process.”
Dorothy Yuille of ASAG said: “When the Coalition government came into power our local MP, Alok Sharma, supported our move to find out about the free school initiative. At the same time we were introduced to CfBT, an international education charity whose head office happened to be on the Queens Road in central Reading. We joined forces and everyone has worked tirelessly since to create a sister school for 7-11 year olds addressing a definite solution for a specific local problem.”
Dorothy continued: “We are absolutely delighted and relieved to have finally been granted our school. The school will be non-faith, inclusive and based at the heart of our local community. The funding comes directly from the Department for Education and therefore does not add pressure on Reading’s school budget.”
Dorothy concluded: “Alok has shown he is as committed in his support of Reading and its communities as Martin Salter was in his long and productive reign as MP, and we thank him for all his help. We are proud to have safeguarded the future of our wonderful infant school and to have created a new junior school where our children will be able to make a seamless transition starting this September.”
Photo: Alok Sharma with Dorothy Yuille and ASAG parents and children.