Becket Keys “consultation” – Is Brentwood being short-changed?

Following on from our previous post regarding the inadequate “consultation” that the proposed Becket Keys Church of England School launched on March 7th, we thought it might be useful to provide some illustration of why the approach of the free school’s proposers in Brentwood contrasts so greatly to those elsewhere in the country.

To remind you, the Academies Act 2010 states in Section 10:

“(1)Before entering into Academy arrangements with the Secretary of State in relation to an additional school, a person must consult such persons as the person thinks appropriate.

(2)The consultation must be on the question of whether the arrangements should be entered into”

We have previously mentioned the New Schools Network who were set up in 2009 and  “provides free advice to groups setting up Free Schools”. They advise that the consultation process is an important part of setting up a free school as it allows the proposers to engage with the parts of the community who have not previously had the opportunity to make their views known, (i.e. anyone other than prospective Yr6 parents).

The following examples, found with a quick internet search, show that this advice has been heeded elsewhere. In Suffolk, a group of free schools proposed by the Seckford Foundation have all been launched with a comprehensive document. This is a link to the 34 page version for Beccles:

The proposers in Greenwich also seems to be keener to engage the local populace:

And while the proposed Hawthornes Free School in Bootle are not offering much detail, they do provide a dedicated section of their site to the process and offer three public meetings.

Whatever your view of the proposals themselves, in each of these easily found examples the proposers are offering far more infomation on their plans, and the chance to discuss them, than we are being offered in Brentwood.

Becket Keys needs to take note of these examples and alter their plans urgently to provide the meaningful consultation that Brentwood deserves.

Stephen Mayo






  1. It’s interesting that you quote the consultation for Beccles Free School as this has had a considerable ammount of criticism locally. However you are quite right the Becket Keys consultation is shocking they have basically set up a webpage and email address and that’s it! The Beccles one at least had a document and some public meetings (even if they didn’t actually note what people said!).


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