Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°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

Overhead view of the proposed Hill Gallop

A major investment in Newmarket horseracing has been unveiled as a five-year project gets closer to the finishing post.

Honey Rose arriving at Ipswich Crown Court during her trial

An eye expert who missed serious abnormalities in the eyes of an “active and football loving” Ipswich schoolboy who later died has walked free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

Leonie Troke (centre, green top) leaving Colchester Magistrates' Court with family and solicitors

A driver who caused a crash which killed one woman and left her own five-year-old daughter paralysed from the waist down has been sentenced today.

Former Felixstowe councillor Dot Paddick

Tributes have been paid to a former community leader, described by her colleagues as colourful and charismatic, who has died at the age of 79.

Henry Dunham and Sam Crimp at the top of the Transfagarasan highway in Transylvania.

Two Suffolk adventurers who are walking to Nepal in tribute to a young mother-of-two who died from a brain tumour are currently making their way through Romania.

Manningtree High School maths teacher Miss Ania Kolendo with some of her straight A students.

While pupils nervously see what they have got, it is easy to forget that results day is also an anxious time for teachers.

Arson at farm in Wherstead

Police are hunting an arsonist after tractors and farm equipment were destroyed in a fire on the outskirts of Ipswich.

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