Seckford Foundation moves to clarify controversial Beccles Free School bid

THE foundation behind the controversial bid to set up a free school in Beccles has moved to clarify its proposal.

The Seckford Foundation has bought half page adverts and inserted fliers in both the Beccles & Bungay Journal and Lowestoft Journal today as they look to present 'the facts' and offer the chance for parents to apply for a place at Beccles Free School for their child.

The flier said: 'Following the period of consultation we are pleased to say that the next step for the proposed Beccles Free School is the submission of our final documents to the Department for Education.'

It goes on to thank those who took part in the public consultation process, adding 'whatever you may have heard about the proposed Beccles Free School, here are the facts'.

It states that it will offer an 'academically focused alternative for parents and pupils in a small school', and says that the introduction of the free school will 'create an incentive to all existing schools to maintain and improve the quality of the education they provide as to attract pupils'.

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The Foundation also adds that there will be a choice of local secondary school 'for the first time'.

Graham Watson, director of the Seckford Foundation, said: 'We felt it was important to advertise to the whole community so they are aware of the opportunity and choice for the education of young people that could be provided by a Free School in Beccles.'

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The free school plans to open on the site of Carlton Colville Primary School for two years this summer, before the high school moves to the current site of Beccles Middle School.

The bid has caused controversy in the town, with more than 2,700 adults and children signing a petition against it.

Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee has spoken against it, while Waveney MP Peter Aldous wrote to schools minister Lord Hill of Oareford stating his reservations.

Jeremy Rowe, head teacher at Sir John Leman High School, in Beccles, and other head teachers in the Waveney region have also actively campaigned against the bid as they feel it will be detrimental to local education.

A final decision by the Secretary of State on the bid is expected by Easter.

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