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Updated: Anger as former independent adjudicator appointed by group behind Beccles Free School bid

09:22 14 April 2012

Rob Cawley has been announced as the  principal designate for the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust

Rob Cawley has been announced as the principal designate for the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust

Archant

The independent adjudicator who led a public consultation meeting into a bid for a free school in Beccles has been hired by the foundation behind it.

Rob Cawley led a meeting in January into the bid and yesterday The Seckford Foundation announced his appointment as principal designate for their Free Schools Trust.

The move has led campaigners against the bid to say the appointment had made a mockery of the whole consultation process.

Ian Goodyer, from Worlingham, said: “I find it quite shocking that someone at a public meeting who is presented as an independent adjudicator is now being given a very senior position at the Seckford Foundation.”

Mr Cawley was appointed as an independent adjudicator for the consultation meeting by Cambridge Education, the team employed by the Department for Education to analyse if the bid was viable. He also led a meeting about the foundation’s proposed free school bid for Saxmundham.

Now, less than three months later, he has been appointed to oversee The Seckford Foundation’s free school bids in Beccles and Saxmundham.

A spokesman for Cambridge Education said that they were not aware of his intention to apply for the job until after he had chaired the two public meetings.

Mr Cawley was previously the executive head teacher of Deben and Orwell High Schools, including Felixstowe Sixth Form, in Suffolk, until August last year.

He said: “I am delighted to take on this new role with the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust which is working on proposals to provide a number of Free Schools in the Eastern region.

“The Trust has an inspirational vision for Free Schools at the heart of communities increasing choice for parents and raising the aspirations and achievements of students.”

Graham Watson, director of the Seckford Foundation said: “If the funding agreements for Beccles and Saxmundham schools are signed, then he would be dealing with the set up and delivery of both new schools for the local communities.”

A final decision from the government on plans to establish a Beccles Free School is expected soon.

If approved, the high school would open in September on the site of Carlton Colville Primary School before moving to the site of Beccles Middle School in 2014.

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14 comments

  • Once again my comments have been censored. If Beccles schools can propvide enough places for the existing demand, why should they be forced to share the local education budget with a free school that is a mere political gimmick?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

  • This was always on the cards. Back in January at the Hungate Church Hall consultation event, Seckford were asked to explain how they would appoint senior staff in good time given the fixed resignation dates for Headteachers. The supposed "independent" adjudicator fielded the question himself. Pausing to smirk at the Seckford team, Cawley said "Well there are a number of Headteachers out there who don't have jobs ..."

    Report this comment

    James

    Friday, April 13, 2012

  • Yes, they do, and my son went to the Leman under Ian Sargen. To quote you, that school was "a well run, high achieving, hard working, totally honest, good old fashioned state school"; and with an ethos rather better than that espoused by Seckford, particularly where "honesty" is concerned.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

  • Poor Popeye.....your impartial glowing admiration for the state sector knows no bounds.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

  • I am not as close to this issue as James, who has posted below, so I find this report astonishing. At best one must entertain doubts about the true independence of the adjudicator. At worst the most appropriate expression is probably 'stitch-up'.

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Friday, April 13, 2012

  • Bit like a referee giving a team couple of dodgy penalties then joining the club as a director?

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

  • I think this free school is already a done deal. Why delay making the announcement... unless you are desperately trying to come up with some sort of plausible excuse that the general public might swallow? This could be why Rob Cawley looks so smug! The whole thing is a complete waste of money, driven by misguided political ideologies, for a few jobsworth type parents that make a lot of noise.

    Report this comment

    Kendo

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • Last post should read...if Archant want to carry out some real investigative journalism they might want to ask why he left his last job...

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Friday, April 13, 2012

  • .....I would not consider putting any child of mine into this nest of vipers.....How commendable that on principle you would rather send your child to a well run, high achieving, hard working, totally honest, good old fashioned state school. Do they exist?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

  • Not a word about the existing schools in Beccles, how well they are coping with local demand for places and why this free school is able to decrease the budget of the other local schools, just because it has been allowed into existence by Mr. Gove. This story of hyping up a new school by political doctrine, exemplifies how the numerous interferences of politicians have stifled education, for all, every time they get elected, no wonder children can't find the will to learn when schools are in constant instability and change.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, April 13, 2012

  • The Seckford Endowment's returns to the Charities Commission for the 5 years between 2006-2010 make vey interesting reading...income £1.43 million...outgoing £4.65 million...regardless of the rights or wrongs of Free Schools this looks like they desperately need a cash injection...and who else to ask fo a bail-out but is Taxpayers via Michael Gove! Something for Private Eye?

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

  • typo... "us" taxpayers or should it be "we"?

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

  • We perhaps don't need to worry about Free Schs afterall since they are doing a great job in proving how dishonest and useless they will be. Thankfully, parents and the general public aren't stupid enough to fall for this expensive con!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

  • Snouts in the trough then? If Archant want to do might want to ask why he left his last job...

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Friday, April 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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