When can we expect answers Becket Keys?

One week ago we published the response from Mr Richard Elms of the Russell Education Trust (RET) to our call for a meaningful consultation on the proposed funding agreement of the Becket Keys Church of England School: “Becket Keys explain why they won’t change their consultation” http://wp.me/p2dr6s-6p

We also supplied our response in the post and referenced a mail that we had sent that contained questions that we believe are not readily answered from information provided by the sources Mr Elms highlights in his response.

We sent our mail on Thursday 22nd March at 15:03:13. We have yet to recieve a reply.

There are only three more weeks left of the period that Becket Keys have designated as their period of consultation. At the moment we do not feel we have sufficient information to respond to it. In the absence of a public meeting, it is incumbant on the Becket Keys proposers to provide suitable clarification to any correspondent in Brentwood and Ongar to enable a fair consultation. By failing to answer questions in a timely fashion they are undermining this exercise still further.

If e-mail to the Becket Keys mailboxes is not answered it seems the only avenue is to ask questions on the more public social media outlets that Mr Elms cites as examples of the openness of the proposers:

“we have maintained an active information feed on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/becketkeys and Twitter http://www.becketkeys.org/twitter.php – we are confident therefore that Brentwood residents who wish to participate in the consultation are aware of it and are able to respond.”

Our mail was sent to the following mail addresses and is reproduced in full below:

admin@becketkeys.org; info@becketkeys.org; faconsultation@becketkeys.org

“Dear Becket Keys proposers,

Further to our mail to Mr Elms this morning, in the absence of a public meeting to ask questions about your proposed funding agreement please could you answer the following queries to enable us to respond to your consultation? We intend to share your responses with visitors to our blog in order to aid your consultation process.

1. Will Becket Keys be fully funded with money from the Department for Education (DfE) if the funding agreement is agreed?
2. Will any other sources of income be used to support the school?
3. The Russell Education Trust (RET) have stated that they will fund any places above the 150 offered during the applications process for 2012 entry. Where are the funds for this going to come from?
4. Do the RET have sufficient funds to open the school without signing a funding agreement?
5. If so, why is state funding necessary?
6. What sum per head of student will be provided by the DfE to Becket Keys on signing the funding agreement?
7. Will there be any obligation on Becket Keys to provide funding to cover the whole Sawyers Hall College site if only part of it is used?
8. If not, who will fund the remainder?
9. Will the Chelmsford diocese of the Church of England be providing any funds?
10. What role will the RET play in controlling the funds for and governance of the school?
11. It is unclear from the websites of the RET and Education London what experience they have in secondary education or in controlling state funds. Could referenced examples be provided to illustrate their expertise?
12. What formal role will the Chelmsford diocese play in the governance of the school?
13. According to your website, the initial board of governors will be the primary heads who fronted the proposal, and representatives of the RET and the diocese of Chelmsford. “Parents, staff and local community representatives” will then be invited to join. How will these representatives be elected?
14. How do Becket Keys intend to identify “local community representatives?
15. Will they have to be Christian?
16. Will they be elected to the board?
17. How will this election be conducted?
18. In the absence of LEA involvement, how will Becket Keys ensure that the school is accountable and reflects the local community?
19. What plans have Becket Keys got for actively collaborating with existing schools in Brentwood?
20. Have any agreements been made to provide any part of the curriculum via another school or college in the area?
21. Following the complaint to the Department for Education from the British Humanist Association, how will Becket Keys ensure the 50% cap on selection by religion is not breached by their admissions policy?
22. Who will monitor adherence to national admissions guidelines?
23. Who will take a judgement in the event of a dispute?
24. Does allowing all applying students to gain a place for 2012 mean that the national admissions criteria does not apply?
25. Will a breakdown of selection by criteria in the event of over subscription for previous years be available to the public in time for future admission rounds?
26. What steps are Becket Keys taking to ensure that the academic ability of students on admission reflects that of the wider Brentwood community?
Special Educational Needs
27. What steps are Becket Keys taking to ensure that the proportion of children with special educational needs reflects the wider Brentwood community?
28. In the absence of LEA involvement, how will Becket Keys ensure that national policies for children with SEN are applied?

Many thanks in advance for your reply.

Educating Brentwood”

Stephen Mayo


  1. Becket Keys – My Views

    There is a view that the creation of a new free school in Brentwood is a complete waste of time due to an insufficient volume of 11-16 year olds in the local vicinity. This was raised at the consultation meeting on Wednesday evening last week. This is completely beside the point because what IS needed urgently in the area is a school based on ethical values that aims to provide children with a supportive and caring environment in which to learn. I went to a fairly good school in Brentwood who’s philosophy is ’Virtue, Learning, Manors.’ This sculpted my metal attitude towards others around me and learning. Bad behaviour was not ‘cool’ in my school but was regarded as rather immature and stupid and so a school aiming to create a caring environment is essential for their student’s intellectual progress.

    A school that is based on moral Christian principles might also have more caring and supportive teachers. Some subjects I was put off by as a student as teachers often displayed their own insecurities and frustrations by means of stress and aggressive verbal teaching methods. If teachers are suffering stress and/or anxiety they need to first acknowledge this and then address it through appropriate means. Teachers are always setting their students an example. Displaying stressful characteristics will teach children to approach learning in the same way, an activity to become stressed and anxious about. Anxiety in some students may increase levels of non-attendance and other rebellious behaviour.

    Stressed, anxious or insecure teachers are not personally always to blame. If their job is the cause for their mental health issues, I am sure Ofsed can be partly to blame. This brings me to the next advantage of the proposed free school which will be regulated by The Russell Education Trust and a Governing Body of community members and parents. Surely this makes sense in today’s society. Of course the local community and parents should have a say in how their children are educated and how the money is spent. Some subjects in our present education system are not needed or wanted for all students. But there are also some more practical subjects which are greatly needed but not included in the current syllabus. Some people learn through doing and need to learn ways to apply information to their lives in order to understand it. If information is meaningless to someone’s life they will not remember or care about it.

    The free school has already set one of its aims to teach skills to the pupils by getting involved with the local community. This will create a generation with better social skills with an increased caring for the community around them. People with greater social skills are more likely to be employed and less likely to suffer mental health issues. If children attending the new school are being taught to care for and get involved with the local community, they are likely to treat the environment around them with greater respect. This could reduce crime and damage that the public sector have not got the money to sort out and so our taxes keep rising as a result.

    Lets support a venture, that although new and the definite outcome unknown and so a little fearful to us, may just create a kinder, community concerned generation of people that want to learn, want to integrate with the local community and care more about education than the many things children are thinking and learning about today. Lets face it, social workers are in greater demand today than ever before. As a community we are not in the position to interfere with people’s private lives but we are in a position to teach children to behave responsibly and ethically so lets try this model of learning because without trying something new, your never going to know if you like it.


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