Educating Brentwood in the Brentwood Recorder

Further to appearances in the Brentwood Weekly News and Echo this week, our call for a meaningful consultation into the proposed funding agreement for Becket Keys Church of England School is covered on Page 3 of this week’s Brentwood Recorder. A link to the “e-edition” of the paper can be found below:

Regretably the response of Richard Elms, from the Russell Education Trust seems to indicate that he has a different interpretation of what “transparency” is than us.

He is correct in stating that the Department for Education (DfE) do not require any more than one question to be asked but by asking a few more that does not represent going “beyond what is required by the DfE”. As we previously reported, the advice from the New Schools Network is to properly engage the local population in your consultation and, at least, to provide them with some detail upon which you asking them to respond.

In addition, the comment “we’ve done this before with the free school we helped them open in Bristol and there were no problems with it” does not mean that the current “consultation” is sufficient, merely that it passed without sufficient complaint to stop the school opening.

As we covered in our post “Previous consultation experiences of the Russell Education Trust” (, the “consultation” was undertaken just two months before the school was due to open. As the TES reported at the time, the inadequacy of the exercise was also assessed by local headteachers as the basis for a possible legal challenge.

Fundamentally, we believe that the proposers of Becket Keys stand to gain the trust of the residents of Brentwood and open their school in a credible fashion by merely opening up their consultation in the manner we have suggested. We are still extremely puzzled as to why they seem to resist.

Kathryn and Stephen Mayo

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