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Becket Keys Church of England Free School, Brentwood

(6 Posts)
Ilovetennis Sat 21-Jun-14 15:08:32

They've just been inspected by Ofsted and have an outstanding rating. On the one hand this is a great achievement for a school that is not yet 2 years old. But on the other hand, they have less than 300 pupils aged 11-13, and a mahoosive £4m government grant. The town had and has no need for a new school as there is a surplus of places. Just think what Stephen Drew (head of another school in the town, and of recent Channel 4 docs) could do with £4m? In times of austerity (!!) this just doesn't sit right with me...what do others think?

toastedbagels Sat 21-Jun-14 21:22:37

What is your source for the £4m figure?

As far as running costs are concerned, free schools get the same amount per pupil as maintained schools, although they also get a start-up grant to cover the up-front costs of needing to resource the school from scratch.

A UTC (which some other people wanted for the area) would have received a similar amount of money. A brand new LA-controlled school would have received a similar amount of money too (if they were allowed to set one up, which they're not at the moment).

The question about whether the school was needed at all might be a valid one, but there was certainly demand for it. The school is very popular.

Littleturkish Sun 22-Jun-14 06:56:39

After Sawyers Hall shut and flooded Shenfield with applications, they had to go somewhere.

Shenfield is looking likely to close now, unless they drastically turn it round.

I'm quite shocked BK got a 1, tbh.

Ilovetennis Sun 22-Jun-14 13:13:15

Do you think Shenfield might close because of BK or was it going downhill long before BK existed? And where would the Shenfield pupils be placed? BK is only years 7 and 8, St Martins is always over-subscribed so that leaves BCHS which probably couldn't take everyone. What a mess.

Brentwoodlady Mon 23-Jun-14 19:56:27

I think there is a good chance that Shenfield may have to close. The reason they closed Sawyers hall was due to falling numbers in the area which might seem odd considering Sawyers had previously been full. However, most of the students came from the neighbouring borough (Havering) and when Sawyers went into special measures, not surprisingly the students stopped travelling and opted to go to Havering schools instead. Therefore when Sawyers closed, the other brentwood schools did pick up some students but by no means an entire year group. By the time it merged with Shenfield around 35 students moved across from two year groups (they moved at the end of year 9) so barely more than 1 class.
So there isn't really enough brentwood kids to sustain 4 secondary schools (5 if you include the Brentwood Ursuline) so opening the Free school was always going to have an effect on the other schools. The website www.educating brentwood has links to the evidence for this.

I'm not surprised that it got a 1 for its ofsted considering the type of students (and parents) it is attracting and I'm sure that it will continue to be a good school. However, I don't think it was the right decision for the area to allow a Christian Free school to open, and I will be very annoyed if Shenfield does end up closing as it is a disruptive experience for all involved and frankly it shouldn't be in this position. I shudder to think of the money that has been wasted in opening a free school and closing down Sawyers.

Ilovetennis Mon 23-Jun-14 21:16:51

Ah yes this all makes sense.

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