Reading Borough Council finds places for every new primary school child

EVERY family who applied for a primary school place in Reading starting in September this year will be offered a place, despite continuing evidence of a significant increase in the population of primary school aged children in the town.

On Tuesday, April 16, offers were sent out to all parents who applied for a primary school place starting in September 2013. Those who applied online can find out about their offer by logging into with their username and password. Offer letters are being posted out today for all other applications.

A total 2,138 applications were received for the September 2013 intake. That figure is just six short of the total number of applications received last year, which in itself was an increase of nearly 200 applications from 2011 the figure.

This year’s total suggests there has been a ‘step increase’ in the number of children of primary school age living in the town and this has been confirmed in the latest Census figures, which  show a 34% increase in children aged 0-4 years old – the second highest rise in the whole of the South-East since 2001 .

Initial data for primary school applications in Reading shows:

  • The rate of ‘first preference’ has increased year-on-year by 1.3%, to 77.4%, as a result of additional classes being added to schools
  • The number of applications which received offers for one of their ‘top three preferences” increased by 3.2% year-on-year, to 93.5%
  • The number of families offered a place at a school they did not list on their application stands at 4.4%, a significant fall from last years 8.1% figure

Any parent who receives an offer this week and has any concerns, or wants to discuss the offer further, are being urged to phone Reading Borough Council’s dedicated Schools Admissions Team on (0118) 937 3777 in the first instance. The Admissions Team will be on hand between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to discuss in detail any alternative options which may be available.

John Ennis, Reading Borough Council’s lead member for education and children’s services, said: “The number of primary school applications received this year again confirms the significant increase there has been in young children in our town.

“Despite economic conditions, Reading remains a good place to live, find work and go to school and we want to be able to continue to offer every child in Reading the best possible education. The fact that the increase in numbers has been sustained this year shows very clearly it is something we can continue to expect going forward, which is why the Council is working hard to plan for the longer term.”

A national shortage of primary and secondary school places is being mirrored in Reading.

Reading Borough Council has invested heavily in catering for that demand, to the tune of more than £25 million over a five year period and a £2 million investment in 2012, but estimates show there is expected to be an increased demand going forward.

A report to Reading Borough Council’s Cabinet last night (April 15th) outlined a Proposed Primary School Expansion Plan for Reading. The report outlined the Council’s intention to submit a number of bids to the Department for Education for additional capital to help realise the proposals for a significantly increased primary school capacity in the town.