When it was announced that the proposal to set up Becket Keys Church of England School had gained initial approval from the Secretary of State for Education the local assumption was that they would therefore be taking over the Sawyers Hall College site in full.
Coverage of the appointment of Mr Andy Scott-Evans as “founding headteacher” in the February 8th 2012 edition of the Brentwood Gazette seemed to confirm this with a small piece on the failure of the other proposals for the site. However, a letter in the same edition from Mr John Hopkins called this into question.
“The alternative proposal for a University Technical College (UTC) has already been lodged with the Government, is fully funded and has the backing of employers and and universities.”
Later on Mr Hopkins focuses on the site itself:
“What proportion of the Sawyers Hall College site will be dedicated to the free school? At the moment it appears the free school will have to share the site (including the sports hall) with 16-19 year olds undertaking long-established vocational courses. Prospective parents of Year 7 students need to know what proportion of the site their children will be sharing with these students who are much older and not part of the school.”
Educating Brentwood understands that the subject was also broached during an invitation only meeting for prospective parents held at Sawyers Hall College on 13th February and it was confirmed that Becket Keys will only be taking half the site.
So what is going on?
And why is this not public knowledge?
The implications of site use are potentially huge and go beyond educational concerns.
Will another educational facility be established alongside Becket Keys? Will the remainder of the site be used for other purposes? Will “Prospects”, the Havering College provision on site, continue to operate there? Will some site facilities need to be shared? With four primary schools already in Sawyers Hall Lane what will the possible effect be on local residents?
It is also unclear who makes the decision on the remainder of the site.
What power do Becket Keys have over the decision, if any? Is use of the site the province of Essex County Council or the Department of Education?
Educating Brentwood is making enquiries on all these points and will share corroborated factual findings on this blog. In the meantime the establishments and agencies mentioned in this piece can meet their obligations to the residents of Brentwood by clarifying these points publically.
Brentwood deserves clarity.