Introduction by the Chair
‘Providing a foundation for life’
The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust (the ‘Trust’) was set up to help local communities to establish and run a number of free schools and academies in Suffolk. The Trust was established by the Seckford Foundation which is a long established charity dedicated to the education and welfare of young people and older people in Suffolk.
In response to local community requests, the Trust opened Beccles Free School and Saxmundham Free School in 2012 and Ixworth Free School in 2014. All three schools are thriving and the number of students choosing to attend has increased steadily since opening.
Our free schools are publicly-funded state schools which are open to local students irrespective of ability or need. Our schools are designed to provide an excellent, academically-focussed education to students in Years 7-11. The Trust has high academic, personal and social aspirations for all our students and we aim to deliver above national average progress and achievement for every student relative to their starting points and abilities.
Our intention is for our free schools to offer a broad and balanced academic curriculum which is based on traditional subject areas. English, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, Sciences and Humanities at the core of the curriculum are tried and tested as ways for students to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding. Where necessary this curriculum can be adapted to accommodate students with specific needs. Throughout every subject there is a strong focus on literacy and numeracy. Via this curriculum, we aim to ‘provide a foundation for life’ for our students by inspiring them with a love of learning and by ensuring that they have the appropriate skills and qualifications to help them move forward confidently into further education, training and their careers when they leave our schools.
Our Free Schools provide a safe, healthy and stimulating environment in which every one of our students can learn and develop and where parents, carers and the wider community are encouraged to be involved. Our strong emphasis on inclusion and pastoral care is designed to ensure that each student is treated as an individual so that every student can discover his or her latent talents as well as realise their academic potential.
Our GCSE results in Summer 2017 in all three schools were excellent. In all three we achieved Progress 8 of approximately +0.5 which means that all students in our schools achieved a half grade better in their best 8 GCSEs than they would have done had they just made national average progress from their previous testing point at KS2. In value added terms our three schools came 5th, 7th and 8th amongst state secondary schools in Suffolk. This success was also mirrored in strong A8, EBacc and English and Maths crossover results.
In 2017, the Trust as a whole was the best performing multi academy trust in England (out of 63) in terms of Progress 8 achieved by Disadvantaged students and we came 7th overall in England for Progress 8 for all students.
Looking forward, the Trust intends to build on the successful development of our free schools and fully expects that it will work with other like-minded, local communities in Suffolk looking to open, reopen, develop or improve their local schools. This could either be as further free schools or as academies and could be at the primary or secondary educational levels. If you feel that the Trust could help your local community to achieve what is needed for the better education of future generations, then we would be delighted to hear from you.
Chair of the Trust Board