- Councillors surgery: Ward Councillors and the Whitley area PCSO will be at The Whitley Cafe on Saturday 1st September from 10.30am-12pm. Please come along and discuss any local issues.
- Church Ward Labour party meeting: members of the local party will be meeting to discuss issues & campaigning on Tuesday 18th September at 7pm at 103 Northcourt Avenue.
- Ridgeway Governors meeting: Ashley will be discussing the schools new year in his last meeting as Chair of Governors on Wednesday 26th September at 7pm at Ridgeway.
- Canvassing: Ashley, Paul and Ruth will be out in the ward to discuss the local area and any issues on Saturday 15th at 12pm on Foxhays Road, Tuesday 18th at 5.30pm on Hazel Crescent & Sycamore Road and Wednesday 26th at 5.30pm on Rushden Drive & Hollydale.
- I, Daniel Blake at Reading Film Theatre: The RFT will be showing Ken Loach’s film about someone living life on Universal Credit on Thursday 13th September starting at 7.30pm.
- Policy Committee meeting: Ashley will be present in his role as Lead member for education on Monday 24th September at 6.30pm at the Civic Centre.
- Governors briefing: Ashley will be speaking with Governors from across the town at The Avenue School on Tuesday 11th September at 6.30pm.
Monthly Archives: August 2018
The 2014 Childrens and Families Act made it law that special educational needs provision must be constantly under review. This means that we are always looking at ways to improve the education provision for our youngsters with additional needs all the time. Here in Reading around 15% of our school students have some form of special educational need with around 3% having an EHCP (Educational health and care plan), that identify and tailor support to students with additional funding.
Reading Council has been working with Reading Families Forum (parents of pupils with SEN) and Special United (some of our young people with SEN) to help shape the future provision in Reading as best we can to help meet young people’s needs. Some of our main priorities and projects over the next year include:
- Improve early identification of need within our youngsters. In 2017/18 the Council turned 401 statements into EHCPs which was a vast improvement on the 463 in the previous 3 years and was praised by Ofsted. It is vital we work with schools, nurseries, GPs and pre schools to identify as early as possible the needs of our students.
- Extending The Base for students with autism at Blessed Hugh Farringdon. This will involve a new building being built that will increase capacity from 15 to 30 students. This will mean more students being able to stay in mainstream provision within the Borough.
- At Primary level we are looking at replicating the Ark centre for primary students with autism in two other schools across town. The Ark caters for 21 students at Christ the King in South Reading, and we will be looking to replicate this in a school in the north and the west of the town. This will increase capacity and cut down on these students having to travel across town. These schools will then be able to provide expert outreach to other schools to help improve provision.
- The Avenue school is in the process of applying to extend an area of the school to provide additional spaces for 25 students with differing needs.
- Phoenix College which provides education for students with SEMH (Social, Emotional, and Mental Health) needs is currently based at an outdated building on Christchurch Road. We are actively looking at sites for a new modern facility at a different site in Reading. This will provide a better learning environment for students in the future.
These improvements are against the back drop of Government cutting funding per pupils by 8% and our SEN youngsters often suffer worse than this.
This week there is a Disability Awareness Fun day at The Weller Centre in Caversham. The day runs from 11a.m.-2pm and is a great way to learn more.
Every time the Council agrees for a large building project to go ahead, the developer has to pay the Council what is called Community Infrastructure Levy or CIL which is used to help the town prepare facilities Unocal areas. Some of this money is kept back for the specific area involved, the Council wants to hear your view on how this should be spent.
The above link will enable you to fill out your details and say how you would like the money to be spent in your area. All of the projects we hope would benefit the local area but pleases let us know your thoughts.
The University of Reading today advised that they will be appealing the decision of Reading Borough Councils planning committee in February to reject the plans to redevelop St.Patrick’s hall on Northcourt Avenue.
The decision at the meeting in February was unanimous in its rejection of the proposals based upon the scale of the proposals in terms of over development and student numbers, impacts on local residents in the area and historic buildings nearby. A media report from the time can be found below:
Cllr Ashley Pearce and MP Matt Rodda are meeting with the Universities new Vice Chancellor Robert Van Der Noort later this month to discuss the appeal. We will also be discussing the issue with Reading Councils planning department and residents of Northcourt Avenue.
The Local Authority recognises from Kendrick School a genuine desire to increase their admissions to the school for both Reading students and those eligible for Pupil Premium. The changing of their admissions criteria to encourage those eligible for Pupil Premium as well as those from specific postcodes is to be welcomed, as is their detailed plan for outreach work after negotiation with the authority that will open up opportunities for able girls from within Reading’s most disadvantaged areas.
However we are unable to offer our full backing to this proposed expansion. At a time when other schools are facing a per pupil funding cut of 8%, we believe that this additional funding should be helping all schools and all pupils. We would welcome a commitment from the school to fill all of the additional places available with Reading students eligible for Pupil Premium.
The school has demonstrated it’s willingness to co-operate and adapt to help meet the Council’s educational aims and we hope that this can continue.
Below is a link to Kendrick’s proposed expansion plans: