Gove celebrates opening of free school which was not wanted by locals

Janet Downs's picture
Michael Gove told the House that the opening of a new free school in Beccles was cause for celebration.

The 2773 people in Beccles who signed a petition against the free school will not appreciate Gove’s arrogant belief that riding roughshod over their wishes is something to rejoice about.  And neither will the Tory MP, Peter Aldous, when election time arrives in this marginal seat.

Update 5 September 2012: Beccles free school has opened with only 68 of the 162 available places filled according to the DfE.  The school opened despite opposition from locals including headteachers in Beccles, Lowestoft and Pakefield, the leader of Suffolk County Councillor, Mark Bee, and MP, Peter Aldous, whose letter of protest was ignored.

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Ricky-Tarr's picture
Wed, 05/09/2012 - 11:03

And neither will the Tory MP, Peter Aldous, when election time arrives in this marginal seat...

I don't think he needs to worry too much. From your link it is clear that fewer than 50 constituents wrote to him objecting to the school, perhaps even as few as 30.

68 children start at the school tomorrow.

As for the much vaunted petition - thank you for the information that it was presented by the head of the John Leman High School. I haven't scrutinized the signatures, so cannot be sure, but I think it's a fair bet that many (most? all?) of those signatures come from parents and staff at Mr Rowe's (rival) school in Beccles.

To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies: they would, wouldn't they?

FJ Murphy's picture
Mon, 24/06/2013 - 23:02

Indeed so, he is hardly likely to welcome competition, is he?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:38

13 staff to teach 2 classes of kids?
Each teacher will only be teaching about 10% of the time.

Apart from the obvious damage which will be done to SJL I imagine all the people there are looking at this and understanding the amazing things they could have achieved with the money.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 05/09/2012 - 12:52

Rebecca - according to Simon Twigg, £2 million has been spent on Beccles Free School although the DfE denies this. But the school hasn't even filled half of its available places. If it were a local-authority maintained school it would be earmarked for closure.

The link to the staff was broken - here it is. Not all of the staff seem to be qualified teachers. Also some have responsibility for subjects at both Beccles and Saxmundham Free Schools so will be driving between the two.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:36

Sorry 14 teachers not 13. That's substantially more than a one stream primary for just 2 classes!!!!!

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 06/09/2012 - 09:15

The link to the Beccles staff list still isn't working. However, anyone wanting to read the list should copy the whole link (including .pdf) and paste into address bar.

FJ Murphy's picture
Mon, 24/06/2013 - 23:01

There are some free schools that are oversubscribed. We shall have to wait a few years to see what happens in Beccles. If it does not prove a good school, it will go under, and the local schools need not worry; if it is popular, then they will have to change. Given the money spent on it, I can understand the concerns, but a great deal has been wasted on fancy new buildings here, there and everywhere (thanks Labour, for PFI), so what's a few more million? ;)

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