School head praised in Commons

THE “inspirational leadership” of a Colchester headteacher has been praised in the House of Commons by the town's MP.

THE “inspirational leadership” of a Colchester headteacher has been praised in the House of Commons by the town's MP.

Bob Russell spoke out in support of Jonathan Tippett who is running three schools in the town - two of which currently face closure.

Mr Tippett was already in charge at Thomas Lord Audley College in Monkwick and the Stanway School but recently took over the running of the failing Alderman Blaxill School in Shrub End.

Mr Russell backed his management of Alderman Blaxill - currently operating under special measures - and the impact he had made on the school in a short space of time.

During an education questions session with schools minister Jim Knight, Mr Russell also called for the three sites to operate together under the banner of the “Roman River Federation” with Mr Tippett as a permanent executive head.

Thomas Lord Audley and Alderman Blaxill have both been earmarked for closure by Essex County Council, which favours replacing them with a 1,500 place academy - plans Mr Russell has campaigned against.

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He said: “The school is now making satisfactory progress, which is no doubt entirely down to the inspirational leadership of executive head Mr Jonathan Tippett.

“I have coined the phrase 'Roman River Federation' because I think this geographic identification for this area of Colchester is one which conveys a more attractive image than the compass description of south and west.”

Mr Russell has now written to Mr Knight to request a meeting to discuss the move, which he feels is the “right way forward” to best serve all three schools.

Responding during the debate, Mr Knight acknowledged the praise the MP had showered on Mr Tippett and said he was happy to look further into the matter.

Last week, Ofsted released the results of its latest monitoring visit to Alderman Blaxill.

Inspector Stephen Abbott said that although improvements had been made since the previous monitoring visit, the school had made “inadequate progress” since being placed in special measures.

However, he noted that the significant changes at senior level had helped create a “clear separation between the academic and pastoral aspects of the school” and the new head's arrival had had an immediate impact and helped “galvanise” the staff.

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