Saxmundham: Staff and pupils praised in free school’s first Ofsted report

Pupils from Saxmundham Free School celebrate their recent Ofsted success with Headteacher David Lees Pupils from Saxmundham Free School celebrate their recent Ofsted success with Headteacher David Lees

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
8:20 AM

Leadership and pupil behaviour have been granted particular acclaim in a school’s first Ofsted report since opening less than two years ago.

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Saxmundham Free School has been given an overall ‘good’ grade by inspectors, receiving an ‘outstanding’ mark for the behaviour 
and safety of pupils, and for the quality of its leadership and management.

The school was opened by the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust in September 2012, replacing the town’s former middle school as part of a county-wide restructuring of the old three-tier system.

Critics argued that the Trust was opening free schools in areas with no existing lack of places, and at a cost to the taxpayer.

But the report, which follows a similarly positive outcome at Beccles Free School two weeks ago, has been greeted as demonstrating the school’s value in the local 
sector.

Dr Robert Cawley, Trust principal, said: “Both schools opened amidst strong opposition and it is a credit to all those involved who have worked hard to demonstrate the excellent role these schools can play in the local education sector.

“The reports are also a credit to the trustees of the Seckford Foundation who backed the setting up of both schools and the opening of a third school in Ixworth in September.”

Inspectors found a “highly cohesive school community” when they visited in May. They also found pupils to be “exceptionally polite, courteous and welcoming”.

David Lees, succeeded Dr Cawley as headteacher last year, said: “The very positive comments from the Ofsted inspectors are a compliment to our students, staff and governors for the hard work which everyone has put into this school in less than two years from opening its doors.

“The next challenge is to not 
only maintain these high standards but to build on them so we can make it an outstanding school in the future.”

3 comments

  • Congratulations to the school who have achieved so much in such a short time. Very impressive! @Origami Penguin. You are wrong to state that Free School are funded for capacity intake and not per pupil. It is true that for the first two years the funding is given according to predicted numbers. But any overpayment in this period, when checked against actuall enrollment numbers, has to be repaid at the end of the two years. So in fact Free Schools are funded exactly the same as any state school: ie per pupil.

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    MrsMitchell

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  • Well done Saxmundham Free School and all of those who have worked hard to make it something the community can, and largely are, extremely proud of. Waste of money? Spending public money to provide a school that is "good" at delivering a child's once in a lifetime chance of a decent education is money well spent for me. Now, if the school had been judged to be "inadequate" on the other hand, then that would be a waste of tax payers' money and I'd want to know what the school leaders were intending to do to spend our money more wisely. Well done Saxmundham.

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    Simon Eyre

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  • The EADT can always be relied upon to be the cheerleader for this government's most socially divisive, hair-brained policies. No mention of the abysmally poor take up of places? No mention of the money drained out of state schools in order to fund this most insane of Gove's vanity projects? Just for the record (because you couldn't be bothered to mention it): state schools receive funding largely based on how many pupils are actually on the roll; free schools receive funding on how many pupils the school could possibly take, even if the school is half empty. It's just yet one more example of publicly money being poured into the pockets of the private sector: the real benefits scroungers.

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    Origami Penguin

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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