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Felixstowe Academy warned over funding cut if improvements aren't made quickly

PUBLISHED: 19:54 29 March 2018

Felixstowe Academy. Picture: PETER A COOK/FELIXSTOWE ACADEMY

Felixstowe Academy. Picture: PETER A COOK/FELIXSTOWE ACADEMY

Peter A Cook/Felixstowe Academy

A struggling Felixstowe school placed in special measures by Ofsted has been warned by the government that it risks having its funding pulled unless urgent improvements are made.

Dr Therese Coffey MP will meet education ministers about Felixstowe Academy. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDr Therese Coffey MP will meet education ministers about Felixstowe Academy. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ofsted published its report into Felixstowe Academy on February 19, where it raised concerns over leadership, quality of teaching, personal development and pupil outcomes.

Ofsted said there was a culture of bullying which was “brushed under the carpet” and pointed to poor GCSE results in which less than half of Year 11 pupils passed maths and English in 2017.

Now, the Department for Education and the Regional Schools Commissioner have written to the school warning that its funding is in jeopardy unless improvements are swiftly made.

The letter said: “In accordance with section 2A of the Academies Act 2010 any funding agreement of an academy may be terminated by the secretary of state where special measures are required to be taken by the academy or the academy requires significant improvement.”

It added: “As the national and regional schools commissioners acting on behalf of the secretary of state, we need to be satisfied that this academy can achieve rapid and sustained improvement, if we are not satisfied this can be achieved we will issue a termination warning notice.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey is presenting a petition signed by more than 2,400 parents to the House of Commons after Easter, and is due to meet education ministers after Easter to discuss the matter.

She said: “I continue to remain concerned about AET’s ability to help the school tackle all of the problems identified, which is why I will keep pressing for AET to go.

“The pace of change must be increased in order to help the young people of Felixstowe Academy fulfil their potential.”

A spokesman from the trust said: “We have a clear plan of action and support in place to improve Felixstowe Academy at pace. This includes establishing new links with a neighbouring Ofsted ‘good’ AET academy; intensive support from AET’s curriculum team; extended days for Year 11s in core subjects; and focused termly reviews of progress led by the new chair of governors.

“We have every confidence that the pre-warning notice will be lifted – we have recently had two other pre-warning notices and a warning notice lifted at other academies.

“More generally, AET as a whole is undergoing a wide-ranging programme of transformation, which has already resulted in the financial notice to improve being lifted last summer and the impact of improvements made is now starting to be felt.

“We are absolutely committed to seeing similar improvements at Felixstowe Academy and are providing the appropriate support to secure that.”

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