THE prospect of a new free school in Brentwood continues to cause controversy in the town.

Church of England secondary school Becket Keys is due to open at the Sawyers Hall College site in September.

There is concern over both a public consultation and a headteacher with no senior school experience.

Andy Scott-Evans, who is headteacher at St Thomas of Canterbury School, a primary school in Sawyers Hall Lane, was announced as the successful candidate from six people shortlisted for the job.

He said: “I will be sorry to leave St Thomas’ in the summer – I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time there and have so much to thank my governors, staff, parents and children for.

“I believe that by moving on to Becket Keys I am continuing to serve those families by ensuring there is an outstanding Anglican secondary school for Brentwood in the years ahead.”

Stephen Mayo, who has children at St Thomas, contacted the Weekly News about his struggle to find out more about the Becket Keys’ consultation.

The school is required to consult about entering into a funding agreement with the Department for Education (DfE), but so far no definite dates or details about what form it will take have been released.

But the school’s website states a draft agreement will be published online once it has been approved by the DfE and Chelmsford Diocese.

Mr Mayo said: “We are keen that everyone who wants to input into this process is given the opportunity and their views are represented to the DfE.”

Richard Elms, adviser to the Russell Education Trust, which is closely involved with setting up the school, said he hopes the consultation will be formalised by the end of February.

He said: “We had a meeting on Monday with parents who have indicated they will be sending their children to us in September and the feedback was fantastic.

“We are over-subscribed for September.”