Beccles Free School: The "newsagent" consultation.

Carlton Colville News and Cards, Strange choice for a school
consultation meeting
Today the Seckford Foundation who run the prestigious Woodbridge School held a consultation meeting in Carlton Colville where they plan to temporarily open the Beccles Free School later this year.

The meeting was held, bizarrely, in "Carlton Colville News and Cards" apparently according to "Jimmy" (the newsagent) the people leading the consultation were to be located on the stairs leading up to the hairdressers above the shop...

Around 48 hours notice was given of the consultation to local residents. The meeting started at 0830. There was no mention at all of the consultation on the Beccles Free School or Seckford foundation websites. It was almost as if they didn't really want anyone to know about it...

Meanwhile the plans to open a free school ran into further problems when it was revealed that Suffolk County Council Leader and local Conservative Councillor Mark Bee had signed the petition opposing the Free School. This clearly shows that the opposition to the school is not political but based on practical concerns about the viability of two schools in Beccles.

I wonder if the Seckford Foundation will now look for an exit strategy for what is looking like an extremely ill-judged proposal. After all they have at least another two free school proposals on the go.

The way Seckford have approached this has shown a cavalier disregard for Sir John Leman High School, a school with a history almost as long as Woodbidge itself. Sir John Leman was founded in 1631 and Woodbridge in 1577.

Woodbridge School
The answer to the question "will it be just like Woodbridge but free?" to me shows a paternalistic and patronising approach as if the Seckford foundation is doing local parents some kind of a favour. They even explain what extra-curricular activities are just in case the non-Woodbridge parents can't understand it...
Will it be just like Woodbridge School but free? 
No. Woodbridge School is one of the premier schools in the East of England and gains exceptional academic results as well as reaching a national standard in music, drama, sport and other activity. Woodbridge is highly selective. 
The Free School will try and use some of Woodbridge School's approaches to pastoral care, and like Woodbridge will give importance to extra-curricular activity (things done outside class). The Head of Woodbridge School will be a Governor as will the Director of the Seckford Foundation.
Sir John Leman High School
It should be remembered that Seckford have no experience of running any state schools at all. They are selling a promise and an aspiration whereas Sir John Leman has both the advantage and disadvantage of being an actual school with a track record. In this case dating back 380 years....
Seckford Foundation 1501377438266762945

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