Ipswich Academy making progress towards removal of special measures, Ofsted reports

Ipswich Academy executive principal Amanda Phillips.

Ipswich Academy executive principal Amanda Phillips.

Ipswich Academy has a “real chance” of becoming a front running school according to the town’s MP Ben Gummer, after an Ofsted report published yesterday said it had made progress.

The ailing academy, previously known as Holywells High School, was placed in special measures last January after a damning inspection labelled the school “inadequate”.

But yesterday, staff welcomed the education watchdog’s latest inspection report which said school bosses had taken “effective action towards the removal of special measures”.

In the report, which followed an inspection last month, the Braziers Wood Road academy was praised for its “relentless drive to tackle weaknesses in teaching, iron out inconsistencies and make it more effective,” which Ofsted inspectors say has been “paying dividends.”

The report highlighted work carried out by teaching staff to make the quality of teaching better and improve pupils’ attainment, as well as progress in youngsters’ attitudes towards learning and the academy’s leadership.

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Concerns had been raised last year that progress had stalled after the academy failed to hit its GCSE results target of 40% of pupils achieving A*-C grades, with only 25% hitting the benchmark – new A-level admissions were also suspended.

But the latest news was welcomed by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who said he was hopeful the academy could continue working towards coming out of special measures and put its troubled past behind it.

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“This is very good news but we are not out of the woods yet,” he added.

“We now have an excellent team at Ipswich Academy and have the first real chance for many, many years, decades perhaps, to making Ipswich Academy the school I know it can be.

“There is nothing wrong with the students at Ipswich Academy but collectively they have been failed for far too long.

“I am delighted that the signs of ambition that the Paradigm Trust has brought is beginning to bear fruit.”

The academy was taken over by the Paradigm Trust in September last year, with its executive principal Amanda Phillips taking over the reins as the academy’s head after the Department of Education removed the Learning Schools Trust following poor results.

Since then, the academy has been deemed to be making efficient progress and had its plan of action to bring it out of special measures labelled as “fit for purpose.”

Principal Ms Phillips said: “We are very pleased that Ofsted has recognised the enormous amount of work being carried out by staff, pupils and parents to raise standards at Ipswich Academy.

“We know that further improvements are needed at the academy and there is still lots to be accomplished, but this report reinforces our belief that we are on track and have the right plan in place to achieve this.”

The original Ofsted inspection last year which ruled that the school was inadequate criticised teaching staff, reporting that they “do not all have the necessary skills and understanding to teach their subjects,” while students’ literacy skills were branded “weak” which “holds back their learning”.

The report also raised question marks over variation in marking, support for disabled students, pupils’ progress, attitudes to learning and management that was “insufficiently rigorous.”

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