PLANS for a new secondary school in Reading have moved forward, with a view to opening a 900-place facility by 2021.

GLF Schools, a multi-academy trust, has submitted an application to the Department for Education (DfE) for the land at Richfield Avenue.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) invited groups to express an interest and a similar application has been put forward by the Maiden Erlegh Trust.

The latest bid was sent by GFL Schools, which runs Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre.

Rachel Cave, head teacher of Highdown, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to ensure all young people in North Reading have access to a local school offering an excellent education for all.

"Our experienced team know the local community well and will ensure that the new school develops its own distinctive ethos and vision to ensure that Reading families have an increased choice of provision for their children."

It is thought that an additional 1,000 new secondary school places will be needed by 2025 in Reading in order to cope with demand.

Mary Davies, chief executive officer of Maiden Erlegh Trust, added: “We are very excited by the potential of this project.

"Our ultimate aim is to create a school with, and for, the local community that responds to the ambitions of local stakeholders, including local schools and businesses.

"Maiden Erlegh Trust will listen carefully to the local community, in the same way we did when establishing Maiden Erlegh School in Reading."

The council has invested £61m to create 2,550 new primary school places in the town and that growth is now filtering through to secondary places.

A council spokesman said: "The council welcomes the interest from trusts to operate a new secondary school in Reading.

"RBC has been working with interested trusts to ensure their potential bids closely align with the council’s needs for future education provision.

"Any bids by trusts to open a new free school will be scrutinised by a panel in the DfE and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) who will interview shortlisted bidders. The outcome of this preliminary phase is expected to be announced by early 2019."