THRILLED parents have won their long-standing battle to open one of the country's first free schools.
Education secretary Michael Gove finally rubber-stamped campaigners plans to open the new All Saints Junior School in Brownlow Road, west Reading, after ratifying their long awaited business plan on Thursday.
The school, set to open in September, will be independent of local authority control - funded directly from Whitehall - and with its curriculum chosen by parents and Reading-based education consultancy CfBT Education Trust.
It will solve a long-running schools crisis by taking children moving up from neighbouring All Saints Infants and elsewhere to create an extra 120 school places for seven to 11-year-olds by 2014.
All Saints Action Group (ASAG) campaigner and parent Dorothy Yuille said: "We are absolutely delighted and relieved to have finally been granted the school. We are proud to have safeguarded the future of our wonderful infants school and create a new junior school where our children can make a seamless transition."
Mr Gove has approved the purchase of neighbouring August House by his Department to be converted into classrooms and play areas with CfBT likely to appoint designers and builders in the coming weeks.
This year's cohort will be temporarily housed in the Downshire Room in All Saints Church Hall, Downshire Square, until the buildings are completed in September 2012.
Headteacher Susannah Daniel, who was appointed last month, is already drawing up a curriculum, ethos and extra-curricular activities.
Reading West MP Alok Sharma, pledged ongoing support for ASAG and CfBT and said: "I am full of admiration for the ASAG parents who have worked so hard to make this a reality - demonstrating perseverance, resilience and commitment over a long twelve months. Reading needs more school places and the creation of this school will help that process."
CfBT chief executive Neil McIntosh said: "I am confident that we have the best team in place to ensure this school is a success."