Wokingham Borough Council yesterday (April 15) submitted to the Secretary of State for Education the name of its preferred education provider - GEMS - to run the new primary schools in Woosehill and Winnersh as one academy.
A number of education providers expressed their interest for consideration as potential sponsors to run the schools as academies, and after a robust interview and selection process which looked at quality, capability and capacity of all proposals, GEMS was selected as the preferred choice.
The Secretary of State for Education will now make the final decision in the coming weeks on who will run and manage the two sites.
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for children’s services, said: "We were delighted to receive four strong applications to run our new primary schools in Winnersh and Woosehill as academies.
"Following rigorous assessments and interviews by a panel of borough council experts, GEMS was selected as the preferred choice. It’s an excellent proposal by GEMS and we’re very much looking forward to working with them, subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Education.
"I hope this will offer considerable assurance to parents thinking about applying for a primary school place at either the Woosehill or Winnersh School.
"GEMS has many years of experience in running and managing schools to a high standard."
Chris Kirk, chairman GEMS Schools Trust, said: "We're really excited to be named preferred bidder for a new primary academy in the Wokingham Borough. This new school will provide the capacity so urgently needed in the local area as well as providing a new option of the highest quality for parents. We will launch this September with 60 reception children split across our two sites in Winnersh Farm and Woosehill.
"GEMS has more than 50 years' experience of running schools all over the world and the expertise of the GEMS’s team will make sure that this new school will offer the broad curriculum, exceptional teaching and high quality facilities needed to make it an attractive choice for the local community."
The Secretary of State for Education confirmed earlier this year that The Piggott School will run the site at East Park Farm in Charvil.
Parents who applied by the deadline for a place at a Wokingham Borough primary school for 2013-14 will receive an offer this week (April 16).
If parents wish to apply to one of the new schools currently being built in Charvil, Woosehill and Winnersh they will be able to do so via a separate admissions procedure.
Full details on how to do this, and how this separate process will work, can be found in parents' offer packs or on the admissions pages.
In December the council agreed its ambitious primary provision strategy action plan for 2013/14 to create up to 150 additional school places per year at locations across the borough from this September, where places are needed the most.
Under these plans three new primary schools will be built in Charvil, Woosehill and Winnersh and the permanent expansion of two others.
This increase in primary school provision follows a rise in birth rates locally and nationally, and the creation of new housing through the new Strategic Development Locations.
Published: Tuesday April 16, 2013