Seckford: "Managing parental perceptions" in a fee paying school when you open free schools

Recovery When you are a private school charging upwards of £13,500 a year for a school place it must raise a few eyebrows amongst the parents of fee paying children when you announce you plan to open a chain of free schools which will cost nothing for children to attend.

If you’re the one paying the £13K you are going to want to be sure that the education you are getting is better than they are giving out for free down the road.

The Woodbridge based Seckford Foundation in Suffolk run the fee-paying Woodbridge School and have now proposed a chain of four or more free schools as part of their “portfolio”.

Interestingly Seckford Director and Woodbridge Bursar Graham Watson has a speaking engagement in September to talk jointly with MTM Consulting’s Melanie Tucker. The event is entitled Practical Strategies for Recovery and is about helping private schools deal with the current economic climate:
It may be too early to be counting the green shoots of recovery but there are signs that the protracted four-year period of economic uncertainty may be ending. The road may yet be a long one but schools should already by laying their strategic plans for a changed and still-changing environment.
Regular readers of this blog may remember Tucker from my post Beccles Free School Proposer Melanie Tucker and MTM Consulting. Tucker was one of the members of the original “parent” group behind the Beccles Free School proposal.

Their talk entitled Educational Charities and Free Schools is described as follows:
The Seckford Foundation, a Charity supporting the young and the elderly since 1587 has won approval for two Free Schools in Suffolk, due to open in 2012, and aims to add at least two more Free Schools to this portfolio. The Foundation also supports Woodbridge School, an HMC school. Graham Watson will discuss the benefits of running a group of schools across a rural county and across the sectors, including the cost savings; the bidding process; how the Free Schools might work with independent schools; and managing parental perceptions in the fee paying school.
I assume parental perceptions do not need managing in the “free schools”. You get what you pay for!

When I wrote the story about MTM I tried without any success to discover what links MTM Consulting and the Seckford foundation might have. Clearly they must be reasonably close to share presenting a talk.

It seems Graham Watson must be pretty sure that the DfE are going to sign the funding agreements for Beccles and Saxmundham to agree to a presentation in September when the schools should just have opened. If they do not it might be worth the £225 admission fee just to hear what he has to say!
Seckford Foundation 8151909257809659767

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