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Ipswich Bridge School to become academy to drive improvements

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 August 2018

The Bridge School in Ipswich is set to become an academy Picture: ARCHANT

The Bridge School in Ipswich is set to become an academy Picture: ARCHANT

An Ipswich special school which was handed an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating in May for a series of safety and standards concerns is set to become an academy.

The Bridge School in Sprites Lane, Ipswich, was given the lowest possible rating in all areas when its rating was published in May, dropping from the ‘good’ level it had in February 2015.

Inspectors cited a host of worries, including “serious and ongoing concerns about safety”, “woefully ineffective” safeguarding and a “long-standing and serious decline in standards”.

Now, data published by the Department for Education has revealed that an application for a sponsor academy was approved in May, with the school set to formally convert in November.

A progress update on the school’s website also confirmed the academy process was underway and that interim leaders and executive board had been secured until then.

Judith Mobbs, assistant director for inclusion and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “The Secretary of State has taken the decision to convert The Bridge School into an academy.

“Details of the sponsoring academy trust will be announced by the Department for Education in September.

“Until the sponsor is confirmed and joint planning begins we are unable to confirm a timescale for this conversion.

“In the meantime, we will continue to support staff, children and parents at the school.”

A joint statement issued by the school and the county council in May admitted that it was not doing well enough and vowed to put all of its efforts into turning the situation around.

In a newsletter on its website the school outlined its latest measures in helping drive improvements, which included putting new safeguarding policies in place, a new curriculum being designed ready to be implemented in September and a schedule of staff training which had been put together.

Five new teachers are set to join from September, while reviews of staff, finances and other processes are also a part of the solution.

In January Tony Dickens joined as interim headteacher, while Philip Illsley became chairman of the school’s interim executive board in March.

The report recognised that the leadership team understood the problems and urgent work on standards was underway.

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