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.Since that time it has become clear as the day that the desire is not there in Beccles as evidenced by:
- The low number of expressions of interest in the school (107 across three school years)
- A petition of around 3000 opposing the school
- The opposition of Peter Aldous local MP
- The opposition of Mr Bee local County Councillor
- The reaction of the Question Time audience in Beccles
- The collapse of the “parent group” behind the school
- Letters to the local press
- The opposition of five local head teachers
This is fantastic news, I have already spoken to a number of other parents and we look forward to continuing to work with The Seckford Foundation and the new head, John Lucas, to ensure we develop a truly exceptional school for our children.Reacting to the news local County Councillor Mark Bee is quoted in the EDP saying:
I am extremely disappointed that the government has taken this view. I feel there is a great deal of talk about localism, but what consideration was given to local feelings and views?
I feel it is unfortunate that the government has chosen not to listen to their local MP who worked hard behind the scenes.
I would urge the people of Beccles to continue to support the John Leman as the established school and vote with their feet.MP Peter Aldous certainly did work hard on this project and produced an excellent report showing clearly why the school was not needed that the Government would have done well to have listed to. He responded:
I am disappointed by the decision. I felt improving education in the future was better served by taking full advantage of what John Leman has put in place and I made the government aware of that, but they have taken the decision to pursue thisI suppose at least the Beccles school has a Head unlike the school also approved down the road in Saxmundham where the Head Seckford appointed later withdrew.
Meanwhile Sir John Leman Headteacher Jeremy Rowe vowed to fight on. Jeremy Rowe has fought a strong campaign on behalf of his school said last night on Twitter:
Something tells me this is right and this story isn’t over yet. Maybe it will end in the courts with a Judicial Review or maybe parents will follow Mark Bee’s advice to vote with their feet and the Free School will fail.
We might have lost Round One - due to some dodgy refereeing - but this game has a few twists & turns left in it yet, I'd say— Jeremy Rowe (@lemanhead) May 25, 2012