Advertising Standards Authority ask Seckford to remove "outstanding" claim from Beccles Free School Advert

Outstanding2Earlier this Summer I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the claim made in an advert that Beccles Free School is an “outstanding” school. My view was that “outstanding” when used in respect of schools has a specific meaning, i.e. a school judged by Ofsted to be outstanding.

The ASA have written to me today essentially agreeing with this and they have written to the Seckford Foundation asking them to remove the claim from their advert or face a formal investigation by the ASA Council.

I am waiting to hear what Seckford’s response to this is but I note they appear to have dropped the claim already in their latest adverts.

We heard this week that these adverts -that  have cost thousands of pounds and were funded by the DfE - have only managed to attract two new children to Beccles Free School. Similar adverts in Saxmundham did not appear to attract any.

Seckford Principle Rob Cawley (who of course has bet his mortgage on the success of this venture) has vowed to try and continue to recruit children throughout the year.

Cawley does not appear even to consider that moving a child between schools mid-year is not generally a good thing for the child unless there are specific circumstances. Children do move between schools but trying actively to persuade them would generally be regarded as “poaching” and seems to be an act of desperation by Seckford.

I bet if Woodbridge school tried this strategy with their HMC (Headmaster’s conference) peers they would be unceremoniously kicked out. Trying to attract children as part of the regular admissions round is fair play. Anything else just isn’t cricket.

See the ASA letter and full text of my original complaint on Wikisuffolk - useful if you would like to complain about another free school (and there are several) claiming to be "outstanding" before it has even opened!
Seckford Foundation 4378506966918858119

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