Plans for new Ipswich academy trust revealed
Two primary schools in Ipswich are hoping to join forces to form a multi-academy trust, this newspaper can reveal.
The governing bodies at Broke Hall Community Primary School and Springfield Junior School have announced their intention to create a new school-to-school partnership.
In a letter sent out to parents and carers at Broke Hall, Ian Scott, chair of governors, said the governing body had decided after “detailed investigation” that creating a new trust would benefit both schools at a time when council funds were short.
In order to form the partnership, named the Children’s Endeavour Trust and headed by CEO Dan Jones, both schools would need to convert to academy status – a move known to divide opinion among parents.
In the letter dated September 18, Mr Scott wrote: “The school governing body has been considering carefully the future strategy for Broke Hall Community Primary School given the wider government policy on education and the running of schools and the educational landscape.
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“Our school is performing well with a current Ofsted judgement of ‘Good’. However, we recognise that sustaining and improving school performance will be challenging, especially at a time when the local authority is less able to support its schools.
“The governing body has, after detailed investigation, come to the view that a long-term school-to-school partnership between Broke Hall Community Primary and Springfield Juniors is the best way forward.
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“The governing body is therefore proposing that the two schools convert to academy status and establish a multi academy trust called the Children’s Endeavour Trust.”
He added that governors will be consulting with parents, carers, and the wider school community on the matter from Monday, September 24 until Friday, October 19.
Information about the proposal will also be sent to stakeholders on the first day of consultation.
Parents and carers at Broke Hall are invited to attend one of two meetings held at the school in October – where they will have the opportunity to pose questions to Mr Scott, as well as headteacher Jenny Barr, governors and colleagues from other schools.
The meetings will take place on October 8 at 6.30pm and October 10 at 2pm.
Mr Scott added that those unable to attend either meeting will still have the opportunity to submit questions.
Michael Lynch, headteacher at Springfield Juniors, said the trust’s name had been chosen due to its roots in the Suffolk motto: “Guide our Endeavour”.
He added that the board were keen to include the word ‘children’ in the name to reiterate that the trust would be driven by the interests of its pupils.
Dan Jones, CEO of the new trust, said: “Both governing bodies have explored the many implications and options for academisation fully. Broke Hall and Springfield Juniors Staff intend to create a school improvement focused multi academy trust called ‘The Children’s Endeavour Trust.’
“It is our intention to preserve and build on the many strengths of the two schools. Both schools have a track record of working developmentally with other local schools and are graded by Ofsted as ‘good’ and ‘outstanding.’
“As a multi academy trust we will continue this work and, over time, will seek to bring other schools into the trust which share our vision to do the very best for the children of Ipswich.”
Responding to Mr Scott’s claim that, at this time, “the local authority is less able to support its schools,” Gordon Jones, Suffolk County councillor and cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said: “Our number one priority is to ensure that all Suffolk children, wherever they attend school have access to a good education.
“Through the Raising the Bar Strategy we have supported the development of a strong network of support for schools comprising Teaching schools and the School to School Support Partnership.
“This means that all Suffolk schools can benefit from local expert support as well as the government funding that has been directed at schools through this arrangement.
“We will continue to work closely with all academy schools as part of our shared ambition to see Suffolk’s children and young people receive the best possible education.”