Commenting on the go-ahead given to the Beccles Free School in Suffolk, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The Secretary of State’s decision to approve the Beccles Free School bid, despite a consultation report showing that a clear majority of local people opposed the new school. This calls into serious doubt the process by which the Education Secretary is exercising his legal responsibility to take into account the impact of any new school on its neighbours.
“There is simply no need for a new school in the area. There is no shortage of secondary school places and a new school opening up could only succeed by undermining the excellent Sir John Leman High School.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that free schools are creating havoc in our education system. They are costing the taxpayer huge sums of money at a time when existing schools are crying out for funds and there is a pressing need to build more provision for primary pupils. This Secretary of State has his priorities badly wrong.
“The NUT is pursuing its complaint to the Information Commissioner over the Secretary of State’s refusal to release the impact assessments he has made when considering whether or not to approve a new school. It is vital that these are made public and the veil of secrecy lifted over the whole process for approving and funding these costly free schools, which are not wanted nor needed.”
For further details contact Caroline Cowie 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061