Suffolk Free School and County Council Try to Censor Blog.
Woodbridge School’s Most Famous Pupil.
Ipswich Spy reports,
Suffolk County Council today stands accused of attempting to censor a blog run by a well-known campaigner from North Suffolk.
Mr James Hargrave, a school governor from Stradbroke, has forthright views regarding the proposals to open a number of free schools across the county, and his website has become one of the focal points of the campaign against schools being promoted by Seckford Foundation.
One of the articles he posted on his website contained an internet meme, a parody of the movie Downfall, which was seen by many people interested in the Beccles Free School, including Graham Watson of Seckford Foundation. Mr Watson inferred from the subtitles of the film that he had been cast as the character of Adolf Hitler and naturally took offence to this. The Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Seckford Foundation, Roger Finbow, wrote to Mr Hargrave requesting he remove the video, which he initially refused to do.
The well-informed piece continues with coverage of Suffolk County Council role, “on Tuesday came what appears to be a rather confused attempt by Suffolk County Council to intervene and persuade Mr Hargrave to remove the video.”
The County Council has since claimed that it has nothing to do with this. Ipswich Spy adds,
Mr Hargrave was sent a courtesy copy of that statement by Suffolk County Council and immediately issued a point by point denial. Mr Hargrave contends that there are factual inaccuracies in the statement, but the County Council insist they are sticking by it.
Mr Hargrave states, in an email to Ipswich Spy and copied to the County Council’s press office and monitoring officer, that it is untrue for the County Council to say they never asked anyone to remove any online videos, because the Head of Governor Services did ask him to remove the video in question. He states that the Head of Governor Services told him the video was inappropriate, so it was untrue for the County Council to say they were seeking a meeting to establish whether it was appropriate or not. Finally he says it is untrue to say the meeting was declined, since he was quite prepared to meet the County Council, just not at the time or place they proposed.
Ipswich Spy has established that the original Councillor “complaint” that sparked this whole issue came from Blackbourn County Councillor Joanna Spicer, who sits on the County Council Standards Committee, but that she was not complaining about it, merely asking an officer whether or not School Governors have to sign a Code of Conduct in the way councillors are. In an email to Mr Hargrave, Cllr Spicer says “I am told it was drawn to the county council’s attention by others but I am the only councillor to have done so.”
Suffolk Blog observes,
What we do know is that Spicer has a connection with the Seckford Foundation which has joined with her and others in the area to develop proposals for a Free School in Ixworth (Bury Free Press).
James Hargrave reports,
The DfE have turned down the Seckford Foundation’s bid to open a third free school at Stoke by Nayand. A bid by a local group to open a school at the Middle School site that closes in July 2013 was also turned down last year.The DfE have turned down the Seckford Foundation’s bid to open a third free school at Stoke by Nayand. A bid by a local group to open a school at the Middle School site that closes in July 2013 was also turned down last year.
It is beginning to look like the behaviour of the Seckford Foundation and it’s supporters in recent days might have been motivated by anger at having failed. With attempts to censor and silence leading critics including myself the Foundation and it’s supporters have shot themselves in the foot. They need to quit shooting the messenger and take a long hard look at what they are offering and why it does not appeal to so many parents and children. Arrogantly thinking you know best isn’t working.
Seckford Foundation run some Alms Houses, the Deben Family centre, and Woodbridge School.
The latter is an oasis of wealth in a leafy Suffolk town. Woodbridge and its school reek of ill-earned privilege, in stark contrast to near-by Ipswich.
Woodbridge School’s best-known alumnus is Nick Griffin, head of the British National Party.