Gallery: Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove opens Ipswich Academy

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove officially opened Ipswich Academy on Friday, 29 Novemb

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove officially opened Ipswich Academy on Friday, 29 November. - Credit: Archant

The Secretary of State for Education today visited Ipswich to open Ipswich Academy’s new building.

Michael Gove praised staff, pupils and parents of pupils at the school for their hard work in bringing the project to completion.

The keys to the £16 million facility were handed over in October and pupils began having lessons there just a few weeks ago.

Located in Braziers Wood Road, the site boasts an all-weather pitch, built to Football Association standards, a dance studio and a series of open-plan teaching areas.

The teaching areas comprise smaller colleges which are split according to age groups. It is hoped this split will make the transition to secondary school for Year Seven pupils easier and generate a sense of belonging among pupils.

Youngsters at the academy have also had a say on their new school by picking out colour schemes and furniture pieces.

During his speech Mr Gove quoted Winston Churchill’s refrain that, “We shape buildings and then they shape us”.

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“What I can see here is a lot of care and a lot of love has gone into shaping this building,” he added, “and I think those qualities will get into those pupils who will go on to study here.”

During the opening ceremony pupils at Ipswich Academy performed dance routines, extracts from Hamlet, and choir pieces.

In her speech at the ceremony the academy’s headteacher, Nancy Robinson, said she was “quite emotional… I think this could be the proudest moment in my career.”

Ms Robinson told the EADT: “I’m absolutely thrilled and proud. We’ve waited a very long time for this moment and now it’s here.

Referring to Mr Gove, she said: “I think it will be interesting to have such a high profile person, the Secretary of State for Education, coming to our school, that’s great.

“A massive amount of work and planning has gone into this building, and the building is so important - it’s not just another school building.

“This is a building that is designed along our educational model which is fit for the 21st century about the students taking responsibility for their own learning, the spaces all being open, everything being transparent. It’s a complete learning culture.

“It’s very flexible so we’re going to be giving people tours today and they can see some of the ways we can use some of the more flexible spaces. I think we’ll just go from strength to strength.

“I’m confident, I’m more than hopeful. We have started to improve, in the old building we started to improve, we expect nothing less of the students than real, high challenge and aspiration and that was what was missing before.”

The Chief Executive of Kunskapsskolan Education, which sponsors Ipswich Academy, said the pupils at the school were now part of a global network of schools in the UK, Sweden, India, the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Peje Emilsson said: “We are living in a global world and I wanted a great school where students can have contact with students all over the world.

“The students here will be part of an international network.”

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