Call for Seckford "not to impose" Beccles Free School

Ian Goodyer one of the people behind the 2733 signature petition opposing Beccles Free School has written to Secretary of State Michael Gove and the Seckford Foundation urging Seckford to withdraw the proposal:
The Seckford Foundation claims it has no desire to impose a free school on Beccles. Given the clear and unambiguous rejection of their plans by local people, I call upon the Seckford Foundation to withdraw its proposal and allow us to get on with improving the lives of our children in genuinely useful and innovative ways.
This is clearly a reference to what Seckford's Chairman Roger Finbow said to me in his email distancing Seckford from Beccles Free School proposer Tony Callaghan:
We have consistently made clear that if, contrary to our understanding, the desire is not there, then we will have no wish to impose a free school on the community.
Seckford have also said similar things to other people leading some to suggest that they were leaving themselves an "exit strategy" but last week they placed adverts for a Headteacher for Beccles as well as Saxmundham and a Principal to oversee their whole free school chain.

Goodyear talks in his letter about how the signatures were collected and of a widespread feeling of anger and anxiety locally:
The vast majority of signatures were collected directly and in person, by, for instance: standing in the street, speaking with people face-to-face; going from door to door and discussing the issue with neighbours; raising the petition among workmates and colleagues in a variety of venues etc. I have stood for several Saturdays in a row in Beccles town centre, in all weathers, and can personally attest to the deep and widespread anger and anxiety caused by the free school proposal, as well as the profound loyalty and respect shown by local people towards our existing high schools (especially Sir John Leman).
He also mentions the number of young people who have signed the petition:
It is notable that over 700 under-18s signed the petition; these are people most directly affected by the Seckford Foundation's plans. In its consultation material, the Seckford Foundation talks about the need to develop young people as leaders, but I believe the number of youngsters who have signed the petition, and the dedication and courage shown by those who took it round their friends and fellow students, shows how motivated our children already are and how willing they are to lead by example.
And he contrasts the clear and strongly worded petitions with the vague words in the "expressions of interest" advanced by Seckford to demonstrate "demand" for the school.
Unlike the Seckford Foundation's purported '513 expressions of interest' (a figure I dispute in my main submission), every single one of the 2733 people who have signed the petition so far have agreed with an utterly unequivocal demand to 'Say NO to Beccles Free School' (see attached petition). It is absolutely certain that many more would sign if given the chance.
It will be interesting to see how Seckford respond or if they do. If they don't then the DfE will have to make the decision and we will see if the Government's ideological intransigence will persevere over local opposition.

Full text of Ian Goodyer's letter
Seckford Foundation 751278415834410080

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