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18 November 2012, 06:00
More time has been given for parents to let Reading Borough Council know what they think about plans to cope with the big demand for school places.
"'Let's Talk Education' is the latest in a series of on-going community consultations in Reading .
A national shortage of primary and secondary school places is being mirrored in Reading. Only this year the Council spent £2 million providing an additional 260 more places for four-year-olds starting school.
Current estimates are that in Reading an additional 12 forms of entry - or 360 primary school places - will be needed every year from September 2013. By September 2017 all secondary schools will be full.
'Let's Talk Education' wants to hear from local residents, parents, schools and any other interested groups. Their opinions will help shape the Council's plan to meet the demand for primary and secondary school places in the town.
The Council says opinions gathered in the consultation will give them a better understanding of how people feel about the choices that impact on decisions about school places.
These choices include things like school sizes, educational standards, admissions and transport options, as well as the impact on the local environment.
John Ennis, Reading Borough Council's Lead Member for Education and Children's Services, said: "This year Reading received applications for 2,144 children seeking a place at school for September 2012 - an increase of 197 pupils from last year.
"The 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 the last year alone, but we need to consider the longer term.
"While the increased demand is a national one, Reading is unlike many other areas in that it is a small and largely urban borough that does not have a large choice of open spaces on which it could consider building new schools."
People can make their views known at www.reading.gov.uk/letstalkeducation. The closing date for the consultation has been extended from November 7th to November 18th.