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Ipswich/Suffolk: Improvements promised as schools dive down league tables

PUBLISHED: 11:43 25 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:44 25 January 2013

Ipswich Academy has pledged to improve

Ipswich Academy has pledged to improve

Ipswich Academy has vowed to make improvements after finishing at the bottom of Suffolk’s latest education league tables.

Following the publication of national GCSE results yesterday, it was revealed that Ipswich Academy – created on the site of the former Holywells High School – had the lowest percentage of students getting grades A*-C (including maths and English) in Suffolk – just 23 per cent.

This is a massive drop from the previous year, when 32pc of Holywells High School’s pupils achieved five good GCSEs.

Ipswich Academy principal Nancy Robinson accepted that the results were not good and hoped results would improve in future years.

She said: “The GCSE results in 2012 were disappointing.

“After only one year, our personalised approach to learning is having a positive impact on the young people at Ipswich Academy and will result in better exam results in 2013. The move to the new building in October will build on this.”

Elsewhere it was good news for Holbrook High, which showed a significant increase in its GCSE results despite being placed in special measures last year due to concerns raised by Ofsted inspectors.

Other schools saw results dip, which many blamed on the controversy surrounding the marking of GCSE English papers last summer.

Northgate High saw the proportion of students getting five or more good GCSEs fall from 77pc in 2011 to 66pc last year.

The results confirmed that Suffolk as a Local Education Authority had fallen 20 places down the national league table to 142nd out of 152 LEAs.

It is now below areas like Wigan, Warrington, Doncaster, and Bradford, which are usually more associated with deprivation than a shire county like Suffolk.

Suffolk’s results also place it below neighbouring counties like Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

Unions claimed that the lack of funding being invested was significant.

The basic average funding for Suffolk is £4,676 per pupil per year – which is slightly more than in Cambridgeshire and slightly less than in Norfolk and Essex.

The national average is £5,082 year although this is distorted by the cost of education in London boroughs which is considerably above average per student.

Graham White, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said addressing a lack of funding for schools needed to be the authority’s top priority.

He added: “There has been an agenda of cuts and divestment. I have a concern about the leadership of SCC - I don’t think they have a great deal of educational expertise.”

Graham Newman, cabinet member for education and young people, said that amid the disappointing overall performance, there were some examples of “remarkable good news” in the results.

He said: “We have got some teachers who have improved their A-levels but have suffered the worst with GCSEs.

“We just have to keep pinching ourselves and keep reminding ourselves that the young people we are doing this for are the ones going through this. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and put the children first.”

n What is your view on your child’s education? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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