Poor results and bullying led to inadequate rating for Felixstowe Academy

Felixstowe Academy. Picture: PETER A COOK/FELIXSTOWE ACADEMY

Felixstowe Academy. Picture: PETER A COOK/FELIXSTOWE ACADEMY - Credit: Peter A Cook/Felixstowe Academy

A Suffolk MP is calling for the replacement of a trust running a Felixstowe school after Ofsted inspectors questioned whether it would be able to turn around its academic performance.

And the inspectors also said many parents and students were worried about the level of bullying in the school – and felt not enough was done to tackle this.

The school is to be rated “inadequate” and placed in special measures by Ofsted following an inspection last November. The report has not yet been published – but parents have received letters from the school and copies of the report.

Dr Coffey said the Academies Enterprise Trust which runs the school, should be replaced: “We need to get new arrangements in place as quickly as possible, so the school can have a fresh start under new leadership for the benefit of the children of Felixstowe.”

The report’s criticisms are blunt. It says:

“Outcomes for pupils are below the government’s floor standards.

“There has been a culture of bullying at the school which has not been dealt with effectively. Some pupils do not feel safe at school and do not report issues to adults.

Most Read

“Leaders and governors have an overly optimistic view of the school’s performance.

“The support provided by AET has been ineffective in helping the school improve since the previous inspection.”

The inspectors did find some positives at the school:

“Students in the sixth form make good progress from their starting points.

“Recent changes to the school’s governance and the appointment of a new chair of governors have now strengthened the school’s leadership.”

Chair of governors John King, in his letter to parents, said: “The report makes quite a number of positive statements about the school.”

He said the school felt the inspectors did not take full account of changes brought in over the last year. He also said the school had taken significant action to improve the safeguarding of pupils.

He added: “I want to assure you that we do of course accept that Felixstowe Academy still has a long way to go. We have taken on board all of Ofsted’s findings and have developed a rigorous action plan to address the issues they highlight.”

Dr Therese Coffey on Felixstowe Academy:

The latest Ofsted report into Felixstowe Academy was published this week and it is damning. It declares it as an ‘Inadequate’ school and placed it into ‘Special Measures’. It notes that outcomes for pupils are below the government’s floor standards; that there is a culture of bullying at the school; that too many pupils are persistently absent; and that the support provided by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) has been ineffective in helping the school to improve. I have been on the case with AET for some years to try and improve the performance of Felixstowe Academy and thought things were getting better. However, when I saw their provisional results and their Progress 8 results in particular last summer, with the final results published in January this year, it showed to me that the Academy was going backwards and that AET was not giving the leadership and support to the teachers in order to provide the best for the children.

That’s why I met the Education Minister last month to discuss my concerns and why I am meeting AET next week. That was before I knew about the report coming out and I will escalate this within the Department of Education. The time for AET running Felixstowe Academy is over. We need to get new arrangements in place as quickly as possible, so the school can have a fresh start under new leadership for the benefit of the children of Felixstowe. To this end, I have started a Parliamentary Petition calling on AET to go. I have heard from a small number of parents so far but please add your voice by signing the petition.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter