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How Amanda Phillips set Ipswich Academy back on the right course

PUBLISHED: 17:55 01 June 2017

Ipswich Academy's Amanda Phillips, who has died after an accident while on holiday in France.  Picture: Simon Parker

Ipswich Academy's Amanda Phillips, who has died after an accident while on holiday in France. Picture: Simon Parker

Amanda Phillips made an enormous impact on Ipswich Academy, and her legacy will long be felt there.

She became principal in September 2015.

The school had been put into ‘special measures’ at the start of 2015 – the worst ranking possible - with Ofsted highlighting a series of problems.

But late last year, inspectors upgraded it to “requires improvement” having been impressed by a relentless drive by staff to turn the former Holywells High School around.

GCSE results also improved significantly.

In the report, inspectors said: “Leaders and governors have transformed the school and the quality of education provided for pupils,” and added that “standards are rising quickly.”

At the time, Ms Phillips hailed the school’s progress, but stressed more needed to be done to take it from requires improvement to good.

She said: “The report shows that the inspectors are seeing the results of our efforts. Real progress has been made and, by maintaining our commitment, we can bring about powerful and lasting change to this school.

“While this is still below where we want the school to be, it shows we are on the right track and the changes we’ve introduced are having the desired effect.

“By working together – staff, parents and students – we have the opportunity to transform Ipswich Academy into a vibrant and high performing school.”

Among the improvements made were regular training sessions for teachers and routine monitoring of lessons, coherent leadership and prioritising improvements in teaching.

A shake-up in staffing resulted in 13 teachers leaving and 21 fresh teachers joining.

Ms Phillips told this newspaper: “The focus over the coming year will be to ensure that new staff are teaching consistently good lessons and all staff continue to improve for all students in all year groups. Leadership and management will be relentless in its pursuit of excellence.”

The Paradigm Trust began operating Murrayfield Community Primary School in Nacton Road at the start of this year, with Mrs Phillips as principal.

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