SUPPORTERS have hailed the "simply stunning" efforts of a group of parents after plans for a free school in west Reading were approved.

On Wednesday, May 22, the Government gave the go-ahead for the West Reading Education Network (WREN) to proceed with plans to build the area's first secondary school, which is set to open in September. The group, spearheaded by 12 of the parents who were behind the All Saints Junior School, was only formed in November and submitted its application to the Department for Education in January. After hearing the news, parents flocked to congratulate the organisers through the group's Facebook page.

Sue East wrote: "Absolutely brilliant news! All the hard work put in by the WREN parents and others has paid off in spectacular fashion. Fantastic."

Helen Masters added: "Hoorah! Simply stunning news. Brilliant!"

Other supporters paid dedication to Herculean efforts of the group members who put together a detailed proposal, organised meetings and drummed up enough support for the school all in a period of just six weeks.

Sri Deepthi Sonti said: "Thank you very much for your dedication."

Peter Lieb added: "Good job! Well done and thanks a lot for all the time and effort!"

The project has been backed by Reading West MP Alok Sharma, who wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove in January to show his support. Mr Sharma will now contact all nearby primary schools to encourage them to hold meetings for interested parents.

He 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.

"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."

Now that the application has been approved, the group will press ahead with efforts to recruit a headteacher and find a site. The idea is to build on the former Elvian School site in Southcote, which was earmarked for a development of 193-homes and a fitness centre until councillors threw the plans out in December.

For more information on the school, or respond to the group's questionnaire, visit

Parents can also keep up-to-date on developments via Facebook, by searching "WREN school group", or on Twitter