‘We can transform Suffolk’s education’ - West Suffolk College and One sixth form join forces

Nikos Savvas and Alan Whittaker of West Suffolk College and One sixth form

Nikos Savvas and Alan Whittaker of West Suffolk College and One sixth form - Credit: Archant

Two of the biggest education providers in Suffolk are today joining forces to create an academy trust which is designed to raise standards in the county.

West Suffolk College and the largest sixth form in the county, One, formerly Suffolk One, have formed a charitable trust called the Suffolk Academies Trust.

Education bosses from the two post-16 providers said the collaboration would “transform the educational landscape for young people”.

The announcement also means One, based in Ipswich, will become an academy in its own right – moving away from direct Suffolk County Council responsibility. The trust will now be directly responsible for the sixth form, followed by the Department for Education (DfE).

Bury St Edmunds’ West Suffolk College and One will be the first members of the trust – with One’s principal, Alan Whittaker, suggesting earlier this year that additional strong schools and colleges could join them in the future.

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Talking about the trust, he said: “We want to offer more opportunities and resources to our students and staff. This exciting new alliance will allow us to do this.

“We are the largest sixth form in Ipswich and our recent ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report shows that we are going into this union from a position of strength and being part of the Suffolk Academies Trust will only add to what is already a high performing institution.

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“Day-to-day workings of both educational establishments won’t change.”

More than 11,000 students study with West Suffolk College, which along with its main campus in Bury has learning centres spread out across the county, including in Ipswich, Haverhill and Stowmarket.

Dr Nikos Savvas, principal of the college, said: “I’m delighted that through the formation of the Suffolk Academies Trust and our collaboration with One, we can work together to deliver an outstanding education for young people across Suffolk.

“It’s an exciting chapter, and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Bosses at One have had to find £2million of savings which will take effect in the next academic year.

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, said he was “delighted” the DfE had approved One’s academy bid.

“This is all part of the process of transforming Suffolk One and seeing it secure a strong future. Only recently, we saw the fantastic result of One’s latest Ofsted where the college moved from good to ‘outstanding’. I hope that this is another part of One’s story of improvement.”

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