The Sawyers Hall College site: Essex County Council statement

Educating Brentwood is grateful to Essex County Council for providing a statement regarding the future use of the Sawyers Hall College site.

In response to the mail sent by Educating Brentwood reproduced in the previous post, the following was sent at 09:26 on Thursday 16th February 2012.

“Essex County Council is currently in discussion with Partnerships for Schools about the future use of The Sawyers Hall College site. Once those discussions are concluded, any portion of the site not leased to the proposers of Becket Keys Church of England School will remain within the jurisdiction of Essex County Council.”

So, further to yesterday’s response from Becket Keys Church of England School, it is now absolutely clear that the Sawyers Hall College site will not be exclusively used by the free school from September 2012.

The County Council statement also tells us that they will continue to own the site and that Becket Keys will pay the Council for use of the parts of the site that they occupy.

Unfortunately we are still unclear on the likely occupiers of the remainder of the site or when this will be made known to Brentwood residents. From the statement it can at least be reported that Essex CC is considering options with representatives of the Department for Education in the form of the Partnership for Schools.

According to their very limited website, The Partnership for Schools is “the government’s delivery agent for capital investment programmes into schools, helping to ensure that taxpayers get the best value from every education pound spent.”

This would appear to suggest that the likelihood that the remainder of the site will remain unoccupied is very slim as taxpayers would not be we well served by funding an empty building. So what options are under consideration?

Given the parties involved in the decision, an educational use would seem most likely and a facility under the control of Essex CC likelier still. Either way, the chances of this being clear to parents receiving offers in two weeks time seem very slim.

Continuing Educating Brentwood’s overriding theme, these decisions are of great importance to the whole of the town, but to the residents and existing schools in Sawyers Hall Lane and prospective parents of Becket Keys Church of England School in particular.

Options should be transparent to the local community and, in common with the public consultation regarding Becket Keys, key dates released in the local press and on the Council website as a minimum.

Brentwood deserves to be informed.

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