Ash pearce - Labour Church Ward Councillor
Church's Labour Team, led by our Councillor Ashley Pearce

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Ward School News

Ward School News

Ashley attends Ridgeway Governor day

Inside the new block

Inside the new block

Ashley recently attended an all day Governors day at Ridgeway Primary school where he was able to meet staff, eat lunch with students, scrutinise data performance and tour the new block. Ridgeway has been one of the schools most affected by the Council’s ambitious Primary phase expansion as it will grow to a three form entry. The new school look built around a quad contains a fabulous new look building. The building contains a new hall, canteen as well as classrooms kitted with interactive white boards and break out areas. Huge thanks to Mrs Cosgrove and all of her staff in the work that goes on every day at the school.

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New Ridgeway block open

Ashley outside the new block.

Ashley outside the new block.

Ashley was able to see the great work that has gone in to setting up Ridgeways new block. Open for the spring term, the new building includes a new hall, offices and reception. Access to visitors is now only via the Whitley Wood Road entrance and the build has been completed on time. The rest of the buildings rare progressing on time and are due to be fully operational soon. It demonstrates Reading Councils great work in its primary expansion programme.

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Reading First gathers pace

Ashley was in attendance at the latest Reading First conference on Monday where Head teachers, Governors, Councillors and Council officers met to discuss the future of Reading schools. The aim is to create a collective group where all local schools will work closely together to help and support each other improve. More can be read about it here

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Resolution on teachers pay

Ashley will be asking the Council to back a resolution on bringing the London fringe allowance to Reading at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting. Teachers as far as Bracknell and Maidenhead receive an extra £1000 a year in pay to take cost of living into consideration. This puts Reading teachers, schools and students at a disadvantage compared to nearby authorities and this is something we want to rectify. The full resolution can be seen below

Draft resolution on Teachers pay

The resolution on teachers pay at the Council meeting can be viewed here

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Council committed to helping JMA

Reading Borough Council is promising to work with the John Madejski Academy and education bodies to improve standards of education for schoolchildren in South Reading .

The academy, in Northumberland Avenue, Whitley, which is not controlled by the council, was put into special measures this week following an OFSTED inspection in November 2015.
Councillor Tony Jones, Reading’s lead councillor for education, said:

“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the recent inspection of John Madejski Academy and the council is determined to see action taken which will provide the quality of education children in South Reading deserve.
“The council will work closely with the academy and the Department for Education Academies Division alongside OFSTED to create an effective and long-term solution to the current unsatisfactory situation. We are adamant all students in Reading should be provided with the opportunity to succeed and that any gaps in achievement are narrowed and closed, particularly for our more vulnerable children.

“The local authority is committed to ensuring John Madejski Academy makes fast and sustainable progress towards these aims and we will work closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner and the DfE Academies division to ensure that whatever support is required will be put in place.

“Although John Madejski Academy is not a maintained school controlled by the local authority and is guided by the DfE Academies Division, the council is keen to work with all parties to ensure that the students obtain the education that all of our children in Reading”.

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Reading Girls School rebuild continues

Reading girls

The school rebuild continues

The impressive rebuild of Reading Girls school in the ward continues under the leadership of Head Mistress Viv Angus.  Church Councillors were recently able to see for themselves how quickly the structure is taking shape.  The new facilities will provide an excellent learning space for students and staff alike.

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South Reading schools sign up for financial advice

The Ridgeway Primary and Geoffrey Field Junior were two South Reading schools that benefited to the tune of £500 per school for signing up with Berkshire credit union. The Union which helps get those in need sort their finances, have been going into schools to teach pupils about financial responsibility and the importance of saving. To find out more of the credit unions work click here.

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Northummberland training academy


Church Ward Councillors would like to promote the work of Northumberland training academy who run courses in Whitley. The academy based at Reading girls school site has an open day every Thursday but visitors are welcome everyday between 9am-4pm and enrolment for courses is now open for 2015/16. The website can be found here:

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Church Ward Councillors involved in shaping Reading schools future

Church Ward Councillors Eileen and Ashley as Chair and Vice-chair respectively of the ACE (Adults, children’s services and education ) committee are helping shape our schools future. Reading Borough Council are re-writing the strategies on education with the aim of all of our schools being rated good or outstanding by 2018. In Church Ward we are very proud of our schools, both rated good by Ofsted in their last inspections, The Ridgeway and Reading girls. If you would like to have your say on Reading schools please go to the consultation linked below:

Education consultation

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Ridgeway school strike gold

The Ridgeway Primary school has struck gold in the form of 300 gold coins that students found on an archaeological dig. It is thought the coins date from Roman times where the site may have been owned by a citizen or farmer and the coins buried for safe keeping. The coins have been sent to a specialist to check their age and may end up in Reading museum. Head teacher Madelaine Cosgrove said “Both pupils and staff are very excited about this discovery and look forward to the story unfolding so that it can be preserved as part of the heritage of the Ridgeway school”.

The story even made the BBC news website

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Ridgeway signs up to Beat the street!

Ridgeway Primary has agreed to take up the challenge to Beat the street again this year.

Beat the Street is a walking and cycling health initiative, that will take place from 29 April -24 June 2015. Schools have been invited to take part to help increase the physical and social activity of pupils by taking part in a ‘race to space’.

Beat the Street has been commissioned by NHS and Reading Borough Council, Public Health. Beat the Street encourages pupils, their families, teachers and governors to track their walk to school using smartcards that they tap on ‘Beat Boxes’, found along their journey.

‘Beat the Street’ ran throughout Reading last year and 15,074 residents took part competing in school and community teams. The initiative had an unparalleled effect on physical activity levels throughout the Borough, with an 18% increase in people meeting the government guidelines for physical activity on 5 or more days per week.

To get involved in the Beat the Street competition please contact us at soon as possible.


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Ridgeway expansion granted planning permission

Reading Borough Council planning committee last night unanimously granted planning permission to The Ridgeway Primary school expansion plans to a 3 form entry to help meet Reading’s increasing demand for primary school places.

Residents of Hillbrow have raised some concerns which were heard by the committee whilst ward Councillors Ashley Pearce and Paul Woodward were in the public gallery to listen to these.  Concerns included the ability of vehicles to access the site and pick up points for school trips.

The permission comes with conditions including:

  • Access from Hillbrow will not be used for pupil access by vehicle or foot, it will only be deliveries and visitors.
  • The travel plan will be submitted which is progressing rapidly under the guidance of Head teacher Madelaine Cosgrove and be reviewed annually.
  • Work hours will be from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and no time on Sundays.

The Council will continue to work with residents to discuss and work through any issues that arise.

This is great news for South Reading as The Ridgeway school can continue to provide excellent education to more young people in the area.

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Blagdon nursery judged outstanding


Blagdon nursery provides an outstanding education for its students.

Blagdon nursery school has been judged outstanding in all areas in its most recent OFSTED report conducted in October.  The school scored top marks in leadership and management, Pupil behaviour, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils.  Some key quotes from the report include “Children make rapid progress in all areas of learning” and “children are excited and motivated by stimulating and interesting learning materials”.  Ward Councillor’s Ashley, Paul and Eileen would like to pass on huge thanks to Head teacher Sarah Mitchell and all staff at the school for their hard work and continued success.

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Ridgeway gets new sensory room

Sensory room

The new sensory room at Ridgeway Primary.

Ashley was on hand in his role as a Ridgeway Governor to see the opening up of a new Sensory room at Ridgeway Primary.  A sensory room is a special room designed to develop people’s sense, through special lighting, music, and objects. It can be used as a therapy for children with limited communication skills and will be invaluable to pupils at the school.

The project was funded by the charity Wooden spoon and was officially unveiled by London Irish star Tom Homer.

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Reading girls school rebuild gets Council go ahead

Work at Reading girls school on Northumberland avenue will begin soon after Reading borough Council’s planning committee agreed to approve Interserve construction to build the new school.  It will remain on the same site and the school will remain open throughout the build from November through to March.

The new buildings will provide space for up to 900 pupils, 100 more than now. The developers have made a contribution of £68,000 toward transport schemes that the Council will use for traffic calming measures.

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School’s new local offer

local offer

What is the Local Offer?

 From September 2014 every Local Authority will be required to publish information about services in their area for children and young people from birth to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND); and also services outside of the area which children from their area may use. This will be known as the “Local Offer”.

The Local Offer will put all the information about education, health and care services, voluntary agencies, leisure activities and support groups in one place.

It has two main purposes:

  • To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available
  • To make provision more responsive to local needs

If you require any further information please click here or contact Ashley, Paul or Eileen.

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Ridgeway School expansion plans


Artists impression of what the new school layout will look like.

Ward Councillor and Ridgeway Governor Ashley Pearce attended the Ridgeway School expansion plan exhibition to meet the architechts and local residents.  The expansion will mean the school becoming a 3 form entry in 2 years time and is part of Reading borough council’s school expansion plans which can be seen here: Schhol expansion plans.

If you have any questions please contact Ashley, Paul or Eileen.

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Reading Girls School expansion

Ashley recently attended a public exhibition about the new school plans for Reading Girls School on Northumberland Avenue.  The School is to be rebuilt on its existing site whilst remaining open to pupils.  The designers will now work with the school on a six-month detailed design stage through to close in late October. Construction is due to start from November through to March 2015, with planned completion in August 2016. In the next few months there are many design meetings planned and parents and other interested parties will be asked to attend a meeting to be able to see the plans and hopefully a model of the proposed new school.

If you would like to comment on the proposed plans please email the school at: Or Head teacher Viv Angus at

Below is a link to an artists impression of what the School will look like:

Reading girls school

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