Seckford chain plan in ruins as they confirm no further bid for Stoke by Nayland

Broken chain ivThe Seckford Foundation’s plans for a chain of Free Schools across Suffolk lay in ruins today after they confirmed they would not repeat their failed bid for a third school in Stoke by Nayland.

Seckford are still planning a bid for Ixworth but there are many in the Ixworth area that would agree with the views quoted in the EADT by a unnamed local parent in Stoke by Nayland:
One parent, who asked not to be named, said he was “happy” to learn that the trust would not be re-submitting its plans as he could never see it obtaining permission from the Department for Education.
He said: “Risking another application by Seckford at Stoke-by-Nayland was not desired by many parents and I am appreciative to Seckford for listening to our community’s wishes.
Those who support a free school at Ixworth - and it is certainly a popular idea in that area - may well feel that a bid from anyone other than Seckford would stand a better chance of DfE approval.

The problem is of course their track record in Beccles and Saxmundham where they have failed to get “bums on seats”. This does not stop Seckford making a further outlandish claim in their latest leaflet to Ixworth parents that:
The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust has already opened two successful Free Schools at Saxmundham and Beccles. Both schools are holding open evenings on 10 October (Saxmundham) and 11 October (Beccles) from 5.30 to 8.30pm. You are welcome to come to see our philosophy in action. (my emphasis)
If these schools are a “success” then I would hate to see what Seckford think failure would look like. Both schools opened considerably short of their planned pupil numbers and in the case of Beccles it became a national example of free school failure with the “Beccles 37” going down in educational history.

In fact you could even take issue with the claim that they are two schools as to all intents and purposes they are largely operating as a single school with shared leadership with staff and pupils moving between sites.

What becomes of the Seckford chain is not yet clear but I cannot see the DfE risking Seckford running another Free School until it can prove real success with its Beccles/Saxmundham venture. I still think there will be a free school in Ixworth - after all remember there was a deal between Suffolk County Council, local MPs and the DfE - but my money is on someone other than Seckford running it.
Stoke by Nayland Free School 939195188777589502

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