Plans for a new secondary school in Reading have taken a step forward, after making it onto a government shortlist.

GLF Schools has been shortlisted for interview by the Department for Education (DfE) for its proposal for a school on land in Richfield Avenue.

Highdown Riverside would open in 2021 if backed by the government.

Rachel Cave, Head of Highdown School, said: "Our team work with families across North Reading and are acutely aware of the need for additional secondary school provision in the area.

“We are hopeful that we will realise our ambition to open a new school for North Reading, which would benefit from the experience of the Highdown team but would provide a different offer for families in the area".

The proposal would see the new school opening under shared leadership with the oversubscribed Highdown School & Sixth Form Centre, as part of the GLF Schools multi-academy trust.

The government is looking to open schools in areas that currently have the lowest standards and where there is also a need for additional school places.

The DfE has been assessing applications for new mainstream free schools since the start of January and staging interviews for shortlisted groups during February and March.

Highdown Riverside would be an 11-16 school, with students having the option to move to Highdown’s Sixth Form Centre.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has earmarked land at Richfield Avenue, in recognition of the need for places in the area from 2021 onwards.

The council invited several trusts to express an interest in putting forward a proposal for the new school.

GLF Schools submitted the application in the 13th wave of the DfE’s Free School programme.

Jon Chaloner, CEO of GLF Schools, added: "Every new school is unique, but in every case the prime objective is to provide students with the opportunity for an excellent education."

The group will need to demonstrate parental support for their application when they are interviewed next month, and are asking parents and members of the community to compete a short questionnaire on their website: