This is intended as an easy reference guide to the content of our site. A list of posts will be regularly maintained for easy reference.
The image used on our front page and supporting avatars is taken from a photograph of Thorndon Park by Mr Peter Luck which was a prize winner in a Daily Telegraph photographic competition. The link is here for further information:
The following is a chronological list of all Educating Brentwood posts with a brief description of what they contain and a shortlink to the full article.
- 18.03.13 Primary school homework – who is it meant to benefit?
A personal perspective by a parent and former teacher on setting homework for primary age children.
- 05.03.13 Lack of transparent school admissions prevents genuine choice
How can we be sure that academies, free schools and voluntary aided schools are applying their admissions policies correctly when no-one checks?
- 20.02.13 DfE FOI request refusals – “protection” or inhibiting “choice”?
The Secretary of State feels that the DfE’s poor record on FOI responses “protects” free school proposers, but is actually adversely affecting “choice”?
- 12.02.13 “I’m not a politician, I’m a parent” – why Educating Brentwood continues
The first anniversary of Educating Brentwood and why a selfish comment spurred its formation.
- 11.01.13 Does DfE secrecy encourage extravagent Free School claims?
The Advertising Standards Authority places sanctions on a Suffolk free school chain for misleading claims about their pre-opening report which rings loud bells closer to home…
- 04.01.13 Brentwood Heads take local initiative on vocational provision
Following a meeting with Brentwood Secondary Heads, we reveal details of an initiative to provide vocational options to some of the town’s students.
- 23.12.12 DfE in “special measures” – what would happen if they were a school?
The Information Commissioner announces that the DfE will be under special scrutiny due to their poor record on the time it takes to respond to FOI requests. But shouldn’t they also be looking at the content of responses?
- 05.12.12 Does policy by “parental demand” best meet the needs of students?
As a new primary school proposes six day weeks, what changes are arising from apparently “parent led” policy?
- 25.11.12 EBC: Consultation or PR for a foregone conclusion
The DfE’s approach to examination reform appears to mirror that for the approval of “free schools”.
- 09.11.12 The true cost of “demand” over need in Brentwood
Academy budgets are published for 2012/13 and reveal the initial extra cost to the taxpayer of opening a new school having just closed one.
- 26.10.12 Why we should all support the #GCSEFiasco campaign for justice for our students
Brentwood’s students are amongst those affected by the English GCSE grading debacle. Why the whole issue is simply one of fairness.
- 22.10.12 Guest Blog: “The Brentwood Local Delivery Group – Supporting local pupils and their families”
Guest blogger, Susan Allen, on the development of the Brentwood Learning Partnership Association and how it aims to fund the work of the Extended Services team in support of pupils and families in Brentwood’s schools.
- 18.10.12 Vocational provision on former SHC site – Essex CC latest
Essex County Council clarify present and future use of the former Sawyers Hall College site and reveal that vocational options may yet emerge.
- 11.10.12 Another free school? Don’t spare the hyperbole
A new free school proposal in Ongar and the travelling salesmen of the RET make liberal use of the word “outstanding” in Hove.
- 03.10.12 The Brownies – guardians of fair school admissions policy?
Girlguiding UK object to a very complex admissions policy but what does it also tell us about the real demand for school places for churchgoers?
- 29.09.12 Assessing schools – don’t start and end with the prospectus
The prospectuses of Brentwood’s secondary schools are primarily sales tools, the information within should be carefully scrutinised.
- 26.10.12 Uniform cost – how does Brentwood compare?
As an OFT report is published into the rising cost of school unifrom, we attempt to price up the uniform of Brentwood’s state secondaries using information on their websites.
- 15.09.12 Daily school worship – “collective” or “corporate” but compulsory
It is a legal requirement to provide “collective worship” in all maintained schools in the country. What does this actually mean?
- 13.09.12 School open events for 2013 entry
A quick reference guide to visiting secondary and primary schools in Brentwood before stating your preferences.
- 08.09.12 Catchment 22 – which “local school” to choose? – A parent’s personal view
Essex County Council recommend that parents state six preferences for 2013 entry but there are less options than that within Brentwood.
- 01.09.12 And now its over to parents… The final closure of Sawyers Hall College and the implications for parents choosing a secondary school for their child for 2013 entry.
- 28.08.12 Why have Becket Keys “retired” their Facebook page today?
Following questions about when their funding agreement will be signed, and the 11th hour removal of funds from a free school in Bradford, Becket Keys cease their Facebook page.
- 26.08.12 What Brentwood’s current (and future) secondary schools did this summer
Impressive GCSE and A level results for Brentwood’s existing secondary schools but surprisingly little information available on the town’d newest school despite national attention.
- 11.08.12 Rt Hon Michael Gove MP responds to Becket Keys funding agreement consultation concerns
A response to our concerns about the inadequate Becket Keys consultation and resulting misrepresentative report from the Secretary of State for Education via our local MP, Rt Hon Eric Pickles.
- 08.08.12 RET, and Becket Keys, come to the attention of Private Eye
Article published by Private Eye questioning the claims that RET make about their credentials, the background of its founder, Karen Lynch, and the Becket Keys head teacher appointment.
- 06.08.12 DfE acknowledge need for transparency but won’t share information on Becket Keys readiness
A local parent is refused permission by the DfE to scrutinise the accuracy of claims made by Becket Keys about their readiness to open review. We publish the full correspondence.
- 02.08.12 Educating Brentwood through the summer and beyond.
Uncertainties to be resolved before term starts, topics we aim to cover in the new school year and an invitation to join in.
- 20.07.12 Six weeks holiday and then…?
Following national coverage of delays in free school funding, we wonder why Becket Keys have yet to sign a funding agreement.
- 12.07.12 Why the Brentwood Gazette article on the “Russell Education Trust” is important
The local press reveal the extent to which a private company will directly benefit from Becket Keys’ state funding. The reasons why this press exposure is importany locally and nationally.
- 06.07.12 Two pages: how taxpayers money is being awarded to Becket Keys
The DfE respond to FOI request about the Becket Keys consultation report. We highlight that it misrepresented responses received.
- 01.07.12 Guest blog: “The closure of Sawyers and the transition to Shenfield”
Our guest blogger, Ben, 14, on his transition to Shenfield High School from the closing Sawyers Hall College. The closure decision and the effect on his peers, family and teachers.
- 28.06.12 What have we really learned about Becket Keys this week?
Following coverage of conflict with some supporters in the local press, Becket Keys issue quotes and e-mail news. But, apart from wanting a fence, what actual new information has been provided?
- 25.06.12 Becket Keys admissions policy change angers supporters
Becket Keys announce that they will not have feeder schools as part of their 2013 policy. Some of their supporters are unhappy at the news.
- 20.06.12 Parents assess Becket Keys curriculum and teaching model
An assessment of the curriculum now offered by Becket Keys and how they propose to teach it by parents of a child about to enter Year 6, one of whom is a teacher of 18 years experience.
- 15.06.12 Becket Keys Consultation Report – “Exact version” or brief summary?
Information from Becket Keys appears to contradict their earlier statement on their “consultation report”.
- 10.06.12 Richard Millwood – “Could Brentwood’s schools be more like Cambridge University?”
Link to Richard’s blog site in which he covers the promotion of state education as a market.
- 08.06.12 Uncertain future – Current uses, users and facilities of the Sawyers Hall College site
We provide a breakdown (with map!) of what each part of the Sawyers Hall College site is currently used for and wonder how the multiple users will be accomodated by Becket Keys.
- 01.06.12 Press coverage of SEUTC bid while SHC site uncertainty continues
The local press reports on Stephen Capper’s vow to continue to find a way to provide vocational education in Brentwood. Who will be using the full site if SEUTC aren’t?
- 28.05.12 Becket Keys: Serving the local community?
Despite claiming to the DfE that “all of its students [will be] able to walk or cycle to school”, Becket Keys reveal that their initial intake will come from “over 20 schools”.
- 27.05.12 The RET, SEN and employment of fully quailified teachers
How free schools compare to local schools in special needs provision and numbers of qualified staff. The RET’s Bristol Free School do not come out well.
- 20.05.12 A Big week for Brentwood?
Decision pending on the South Essex University Techincal College proposal.
- 15.05.12 Becket Keys consultation report does not accurately reflect responses received
Becket Keys publish the “report” of their fundng agreement consultation. It does not report all responses received.
- 14.05.12 When is a faith school not a faith school?
Essex County Council reveal that Becket Keys is not considered a faith school for the purposes of transport, but St Helen’s Junior School is.
- 11.05.12 “Learning For Life” – The transition to Year 7
How Shenfiled High School are managing the transition from primary to secondary school.
- 05.05.12 Have Becket Keys met their “duty to consult”?
The DfE reveals how little free school proposers have to do to consult the community in order to receive state money. This does not excuse the contemptuous attitude of the Becket Keys proposers.
- 01.05.12 Why the closure of Sawyers Hall College could matter to the whole of Essex
The closure of SHC could impact on next year’s funding to Essex schools. Negotiations on the future use of the site should seek to minimise this as a priority.
- 29.04.12 Are free school “consultations” really intended to gather local opinion?
A link to a post on the Local Schools Network website by one of our members regarding the consultation process.
- 26.04.12 Parents have a better chance to make an informed choice
Graham Ranby of Essex CC confirms that the vast majority of those holding offers from Becket Keys are also holding another one. This gives parents a chance to assess a high profile new appointment at BCHS and a new start at SHS before making their final choice.
- 19.04.12 Personal Open Meeting statement from John Fairhurst
Recent Past National President of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), and former Shenfield High School head teacher, John Fairhurst provides a statement for our Open Meeting.
- 17.04.12 Preparing to respond to the Becket Keys consultation.
A presonal view of two of our members to the Becket Keys on how they intend to respond to the Becket Keys funding agreement and admissions consultation.
- 14.04.12 Shouldn’t Becket Keys be extending their consultation by two weeks?
We suggest that Becket Keys should comply with the clear requirements of the Schools Admissions Code.
- 11.04.12 Open meeting – Sawyers Hall College Library – April 18th @ 19:45
Our invitation to the Brentwood community to discuss the future of education in Brentwood.
- 09.04.12 Becket Keys used to illustrate concerns over need for free schools in national press
The NUT are very concerned about the potential impact of opening new schools in areas of surplus places. Becket Keys is used as an example in national press coverage.
- 05.04.12 The search for information on Becket Keys backers
The Russell Education Trust won’t tell us who they or what credentials they have. What is actually publically available?
- 05.04.12 Gazette reports on Becket Keys suspected non-compliance with admissions code
Report in local press on a letter sent by Director of ASHE to the Schools Adjudicator.
- 02.04.12 Are Becket Keys compliant with the Schools Admissions Code?
The Becket Keys consultation includes a section on admissions policy. This appears to be clearly at odds with the Schools Admissions Code.
- 30.03.12 Becket Keys will not be answering questions from Educating Brentwood
An exchange of e-mails with Richard Ems of the RET that states that they will refuse to answer questions from tax paying residents of Brentwood.
- 30.03.12 When can we expect answers Becket Keys?
After a delay of over a week, we question why our mail too the proposers of Becket Keys have not answered has not been answered.
- 28.03.12 Admissions numbers for 2012 show that Becket Keys must consult existing schools
The Brentwood Gazette publish numbers for September 2012 that illustrate the potential effect on neighbouring schools.
- 26.03.12 How inclusive are Brentwood’s schools?
Brentwood’s Chucrh schools have the lowest number of children entitled to free school meals. What are the implications?
- 25.03.12 The Church’s role in Brentwood’s schools defined
The different types of Church school and what this means for their governance.
- 23.03.12 Becket Keys explain why they won’t change their consultation
Richard Elms of RET responds to our charges that the consultation is inadequate.
- 22.03.12 Becket Keys commit to publish consultation results
Richard Elms of RET commits to publishing the consultation results on the Becket Keys website.
- 18.03.12 South Essex University Technical College – proposal progress update
Report on the status of the SEUTC bid and how to support it. Interview imminent at the DfE and expected decision day.
- 17.03.12 Educating Brentwood in the Brentwood Recorder
Further coverage of our call for Becket Keys to provide a meaningful consultation. Why the RET’s Richard Elms is wrong in saying there are “no problems” with their approach.
- 16.03.12 Becket Keys consultation needs to engage the whole of Brentwood
The Secretary of State is required to aseess the impact of opening a new school on others in the area. The current “consultation” is not designed to inform this.
- 14.03.12 Becket Keys need to provide a meaningful consultation – press coverage
Our call for Becket keys to provide a meaningful consultation is covered by the Brentwood Weekly News and Echo. Our concerns and suggested amendments re-stated.
- 12.03.12 Previous consultation experiences of the Russell Education Trust
Coverage of the two consultations undertaken by the Bristol Free School and the similarities to the situation in Brentwood.
- 10.03.12 Opportunities for Yr6 parents to learn about Shenfield High School plans
Briefings provided to find out about future developments at Shenfield High School ahead of “Decision day”.
- 09.03.12 Becket Keys “consultation” – Is Brentwood being short-changed?
Other “free school” proposers have offered considerably more opportunity for the local community to engage in their consultation. Some examples.
- 07.03.12 Becket Keys – A consultation should be more than just a mailbox
Becket Keys announce that their consultation has started. Why it is and inadequate exercise to properly engage Brentwood residents.
- 07.03.12 Clarity provided but questions raised in Gazette article on Becket Keys
Potential numbers are raised again at Becket Keys and “decision day” date is confirmed.
- 05.03.12 South Essex University Technical College – latest news and local coverage
The resubmission of the UTC bid, links to SEUTC website and local press coverage of it.
- 02.03.12 The shrinking curriculum – will educational changes in Brentwood really provide more choice?
Key Stage 3 and 4 curriculums offered by the different types of schools in Brentwood.
- 01.03.12 Becket Keys – when do parents decline other offers?
National Offers Day and the ramifications for those holding two offers.
- 28.02.12 Essex CC: SHC site use still undecided
Following conflicting statements from Becket Keys proposers, Essex CC provide a statement on the actual position regarding future use of the SHC site.
- 27.02.12 The Future of the Sawyers Hall College site – The issues two weeks on
Two weeks on from the formation of our site, the latest position on use of the SHC site, consultation and parental “decision day”.
- 25.02.12 Academies and “Free Schools”: Locally accountable governance?
The formation of Academies at Shenfield High School and Becket Keys and the implications for school governance. What an Academy “Trust” is and why it is important to know who forms them.
- 24.02.12 2012 Admissions – Essex CC confirms the definitive position
A comprehensive statement from Essex CC on when parents will have to commit to a school for September 2012 entry. Why all parties involved should ensure the Becket Keys consultation is completed first.
- 23.02.12 The Becket Keys Consultation: A Question of Admissions
Why St Mary’s Shenfield parents and the British Humanist Association have the right to be consulted over Becket Keys admissions policy.
- 22.02.12 Gazette paints inaccurate picture on Becket Keys
The real position regarding “decision day” and why the consultation must be concluded before parents are forced to choose.
- 21.02.12 Becket Keys confirm intended start date for consultation…but little else
Becket Keys statement on public consultation and site use and what it doesn’t say.
- 19.02.12 Cllr Hossack – local people having their say? “What’s the point”?
YouTube footage of Cllr Hossack and Cllr LeSurf on “Soap Box”. Why public accountability is important.
- 18.02.12 Some Help for Councillor Hossack
Councillor Chris Hossack reflects the lack of factual information available to Brentwood residents. We provide a summary of the factual position regarding the future of the SHC site.
- 17.02.12 Concentrate on Brentwood Mr Elms
Statements from Essex CC and Becket Keys about the date when parents will have to commit their children to a school for September 2012. Why “over-subscribed” may not be an accurate description.
- 16.02.12 The Sawyers Hall College site: Essex County Council statement
Essex CC statement confirming there will be other users of the SHC site. Brentwood should be made aware of the options.
- 15.02.12 Confirmation that Becket Keys Church of England School will not be using the full Sawyers Hall College site
Statement from Becket Keys regarding the future of the SHC site. What are the implications for offers decisions and public consultation?
- 14.02.12 So What IS happening with the Sawyers Hall College site?
How much of the SHC site are Becket Keys intending to use? A letter to the Brentwood Gazette provides some clues.
- 13.02.12 Consult Brentwood
Headline summary of why Becket Keys Church of England School needs to hold a public consultation.