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- Published on Saturday, 04 February 2012 08:17
- Written by NASS Administrator
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All Saints C of E aided Infant School, built in 1865, is a typical two class room village school building of Victorian design, situated next door to the church from which it gets its name. It has an accommodation number of 60, with pleasant school grounds and is well thought of by the parents whose children attend the school. Despite its popularity, the future of the school has been uncertain for many years.
The dilemma facing the school was that it is sited in the centre of Reading and had no natural junior school for its pupils to transfer to at the end of Key Stage One.The situation came to a head during the Spring/Summer of 2010 when none of the year 2 pupils were allocated places at schools of their choice; parents began to take their children away from All Saints if a place came up in the school they wished their child to transfer to at the end of year 2. The number of parents putting All Saints down as their first choice fell dramatically and the school's viability was threatened.
However the new government initiative regarding academies and free schools gave the governors, staff and parents the incentive to pursue an idea Linda Phillips, the headteacher had considered four years earlier. At that time the school office was being extended and whilst the building work was going on, the administrative staff worked from a large building opposite which had been occupied by Social Services but now stood empty. As Linda walked round the building she thought 'August House', with its large grounds, would be ideal for a junior school. She enlisted the help of parents and governors and with them started a campaign working with the Diocese and Local Authority to secure August House to provide the much needed junior places. Unfortunately this did not fit in with Reading Borough Council's plans and so there was no money forthcoming.
The Free School idea gave the campaigners another avenue to explore. A break through came when a member of the Parish Church Council, who had links with the CfBT Education Trust which is based in Reading, discovered the organisation was looking for a project in the Reading area. CfBT agreed to sponsor the proposal and the parents formed All Saints Action Group (ASAG). Alok Sharma, the local M.P. was very supportive and with his help the new junior school became one of the first 24 free schools to be established.
At present sixteen year 3 pupils are taught in All Saints Church Hall, which has been refitted out as a classroom with Free School funding. August House has been purchased as part of the Education Trust and is being refurbished and extended over the coming year so as to be ready for September 2012.
The parents are delighted that at the end of Key Stage 1, their children will transfer to the junior school on the other side of the road. All Saints Infant School is heavily oversubscribed and its future seems assured.