Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, was delighted to welcome today, the decision by the Department for Education to approve the application submitted by the West Reading Education Network for a new school in West Reading.
Alok Sharma said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for the children and parents in my constituency and it has been an absolute joy to work with my friends at WREN in helping deliver this new school for our community. My sincere thanks and congratulations to everyone involved with the WREN project, but especially to Mischa Tytel and Nik Rusic for leading from the front.”
Alok continued: “Of course now that we have the approval we need to work to deliver the new school and WREN will continue to have my support every step of the way as we look to the opening of the new school in September 2014.”
Mischa Tytel said: “We are absolutely delighted that we have been entrusted by the Department for Education to open the first Secondary Free School in Reading with our partners at the CfBT Schools Trust. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past six months especially Alok Sharma and his team. This is a great day for the community of Central West Reading.”
WREN is working in partnership with the CfBT Schools Trust, the academies and free schools arm of CfBT Education Trust, one of the UK's largest education charities. Alok has been involved in supporting the school’s bid, since the beginning of the application process.
In January 2013, Alok wrote to the head teachers of primary schools in the local area on behalf of WREN, asking whether they would allow representatives from WREN to come into their school to meet parents and present their plans for the new school to raise awareness and support for the plans.
Alok also wrote a letter of support for the school to the Department for Education, pointing out the huge pressure on school places in Reading and the experience of the WREN team putting forward the application, explaining that many of those involved had also been involved in setting up All Saints Junior Free School, which was the first Free School in Reading. In a response from Michael Gove, the Secretary of State at the Department for Education assured Alok that these points would be taken into account by Department officials.
Alok has promised to write a letter to all primary schools in the catchment area for the new school to ask whether they will host meetings for parents interested in learning more about the new school.
More information about the school is available on the WREN website: http://www.wrenschool.org/. The website also has an online survey to collect data to support the school, as well as a blog and mailing list so that everyone can keep up to date with the school’s progress. There is also a Facebook page and a twitter feed @WRENschool, which will also provide regular updates.
Photo: Alok Sharma with Mischa Tytel and other supporters