A “DEEPLY flawed” consultation process does not give residents a clearer picture about the funding of Brentwood’s new free school, it has been claimed.

Becket Keys is due to open its doors in September but before that it needs to sign a funding agreement, which is a requirement for all new free schools and academies.

It is consulting on two issues: - The funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education.

- Its admissions policy.

Parents and residents have until 6pm on April 20 to respond but campaign group Educating Brentwood, which has been set up to promote public accountability in education, is not happy with the format of the consultation.

It says it does not allow for “meaningful participation” by residents, a consultation document has not been provided, no information is available about who will form the Academy Trust, who will control the public money allocated to it, or how a board of governors will be formed and responses are mainly being encouraged through email.

Dad-of-two Stephen Mayo, a founder member of Educating Brentwood, said: “The agreement to fund the proposed free school has a potential effect on the children, parents and staff of all other schools in Brentwood.

“The taxpayers of the town also have a right to know where their money is going. I am very concerned the consultation offered by Becket Keys does not allow for a full understanding of what funding will cover or who will control it.

“Brentwood residents must also be given confidence that their views are accurately represented to the Department for Education.”

The group has suggested views of the community can be better reflected by: - Providing a consultation document.

- Detailing how responses will be collected and represented to the DfE.

- Holding at least one public meeting.

- Providing details to all schools in Brentwood of how to participate in the consultation so it can be passed on to parents.

At the time of going to press no comment had been received from the Russell Education Trust, which is closely involved with setting up the school.