First details are revealed of the new high school at Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds

Headteacher Howard Lay is pictured at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill.

Headteacher Howard Lay is pictured at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill. - Credit: Archant

The name of a new academy for Bury St Edmunds has been revealed in an exclusive interview on the new school.

Building work is under way for the new school on Moreton Hall in Bury.

Building work is under way for the new school on Moreton Hall in Bury. - Credit: Archant

The high school, which is due to open in September next year, will be called the Sybil Andrews Academy, inspired by the Bury St Edmunds artist and teacher who overcame many obstacles to achieve.

The first details about the academy, off Lady Miriam Way, were revealed in an interview with Howard Lay, chief executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust that will run it.

The trust already has seven schools, all within west Suffolk and including the high-performing Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill.

Mr Lay, who has worked in education for 33 years, said building work on the first phase has already begun at the Moreton Hall site and they hope to recruit a headteacher this month who will lead the appointment of the rest of their team.

He said the name Sybil Andrews had been chosen as she had an interesting life story for the school to build its values around.

She could not afford to attend art school and was a welder during the Second World War. She later became a teacher and a successful artist, emigrating to Canada after the war.

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Mr Lay said: “The school will be about teaching pupils a number of key values and it will have three aims: obviously around successful learners because we want all our pupils to do really well academically, but of course we don’t just want that.

“We don’t think that’s enough, we also think they need to become confident within themselves. One of the things I have learned over 17 years as a headteacher is pupils generally won’t become successful learners unless they are confident about themselves and have self-esteem and self-worth.

“That’s really important as well in this school, and the other thing is [pupils being] responsible citizens. We want them to see and understand they are part of a bigger community.”

Andrew Gough, who is Sybil’s first cousin twice removed, said: “It is very good that Sybil is being recognized in this way, which is a great honour. I wish the academy every success for the future.”

Mr Lay said the immediate priorities for the new school - which he is confident will open next September - are finding a headteacher, providing parents with the information they need and setting up the governing body.

He said there had already been a lot of interest from many potential heads, adding he hopes somebody will be in post in January so they can make the school their own and lead the appointment of the other staff.

“The priority for us is getting a really strong, effective person,” he said.

Parents will naturally be cautious of a new school that is yet to establish a track record, but Mr Lay said: “The approaches we have developed and experienced, they are not just empty ideas.

“They are experienced around existing teachers and learning and care for pupils and how we achieve the most positive outcomes for every pupil regardless of their ability. They are the sort of ingredients we will bring to this new school.”

He added a brand new school is a “real opportunity” to employ the right staff and train them in the way you want.

In its first year the academy will take a maximum of 360 students - 120 in year seven, 120 in year eight and 120 in year nine - growing to about 1,400, not including the sixth form.

Parent information evenings are taking place on October 6 at Sebert Wood Community Primary School and on October 15 at Abbots Green Community Primary School, with sessions from 4pm to 5.30pm and 6pm to 7.30pm on both evenings.

Some other events for the community are also being organised.

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