Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Saxmundham: Headteacher criticises free school bid

09:00 30 June 2012

Ian Flintoff, headteacher at Leiston High School

Ian Flintoff, headteacher at Leiston High School

Archant

A HEADTEACHER last night questioned the need for a new free school in his catchment area - with less than 100 pupils signed up to enrol.

The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust confirmed that just 98 pupils have enlisted for a place at Saxmundham Free School, which is set to open in September. However it stressed that applications were still coming in and that numbers were expected to rise.

Ian Flintoff, heacteacher at nearby Leiston High School - which will be the Alde Valley School in September and accepts pupils from the Saxmundham area - criticised the trust for its late notification on student numbers, while also saying the low intake showed another school was unnecessary.

“The late notification of the free school has been highly problematical,” he said. “We didn’t find out until Wednesday which pupils on our list had also enrolled for Saxmundham. That’s three days before we start our induction sessions for our new intake and just 17 days before the end of term. It’s a very tight deadline and has created all sorts of practical problems in relation to organising timetables and staffing. Our re-organisation plans have been ongoing for two years. They are at a late stage and its very hard to change things.”

The Seckford Foundation is also behind the helm of the Beccles Free School - which so far has received just 37 applications.

Mr Flintoff continued: “We made it clear during the consultation phase that an additional school in a rural area with declining pupil numbers was not needed.

“Saxmundham Free School will start its life 70% empty and Beccles Free School 90% empty. We are also led to believe the free schools will receive plentiful capital monies and a large start up grant. This is hardly a wise use of public funds in a time of austerity and in a rural area with a substantial surplus of school places as a consequence of demographic decline.

“The loss of income to our school caused by the reduced number of students attending Alde Valley School in September will inevitably affect the resources we can expect to spend on our own pupils, many of whom come from the Saxmundham community.”

The Saxmundham Free School will open on the site of the town’s former middle school, which closes next month as part of Suffolk County Council’s education reshuffle. It will initially accept youngsters aged from 11 to 14 (years 7, 8 and 9) but by 2014 years 10 and 11 will also be on roll.

Many parents had expressed support for the school because they were concerned with the lack of post-11 education in Saxmundham following the closure of the middle school.

Rob Cawley, principal of the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust, said: “The average academic standards across the county are below the national average and the aim of the Trust in establishing a free school in Saxmundham is to help drive up those standards so that young people can have greater opportunities either in further education or the workplace.”

Related articles

2 comments

  • I understand the concern too, from the parents point of view. The free school in brandon, according to their prospectus, has teachers with little or no experience within the last few years of teaching in this country. The science teacher graduated in PE, the maths teacher graduated in music! And this is the school that made all the experienced existing staff redundant. Brandon doesn't have a choice and look what it's got. This one does.

    Report this comment

    banned-user

    Saturday, June 30, 2012

  • Free schools are little more than state-funded private education for the children of pushy parents. Like every half-baked idea from this omnishambles of a government, ideology will always trump research-based policy. All they care about is siphoning off public money to line the pockets of the private sector. I'm pleased to see that, by and large, the people of Suffolk appear to have seen through this scam.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Saturday, June 30, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A120 at Marks Tey

The A120 could join the A12 at Rivenhall or Kelvedon instead of Marks Tey as potential routes for the new dualled road are revealed.

The crash happened near the A11 in Elveden

A woman in her 70s has died after a two-car crash on the B1106 in Elveden, near Thetford this afternoon.

Archie Joe Darby, who was killed in a dog attack in Colchester, and older brother Daniel-Jay Darby who was seriousy injured

A mother bravely fought off a Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog which savagely attacked her two young sons but could only save the eldest boy, an inquest has heard.

Paul Lee says the injury is more likely to be caused by a common spider like this

Suffolk’s arachnid recorder said he would be “very surprised” if claims of a deadly spider infestation in the county were accurate.

Posters appealing for information into the disappearance of missing RAF Honington serviceman Corrie McKeague

An “overwhelming” response to a call for help finding Corrie McKeague has seen nearly £30,000 raised to pay for a private investigator to look into the disappearance of the missing RAF serviceman.

Richard Waterhouse. Photo: Essex Police

A drug addict who “lost control” and killed another man he had been taking drugs with in Wivenhoe has been jailed for eight years today.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24