Ipswich: Head of Ipswich Academy, Nancy Robinson, steps down from her role
16:19 09 September 2014
The principal of an Ipswich school labelled inadequate by Ofsted has resigned from her role just days into the start of the new academic year, it was announced yesterday.
Nancy Robinson had been in charge at Ipswich Academy, formerly Holywells High School, for four years and oversaw its transformation to academy status and the move to its new £16million state-of-the-art building in Braziers Wood Road.
The move came just months after a damning Ofsted inspection criticised areas including teaching quality and student progress.
According to the academy’s sponsor, the Learning Schools Trust, Ms Robinson was on site at the beginning of the year, but has now decided to step down.
Ms Robinson said: “I wish the staff and students at Ipswich Academy well. I have very much enjoyed my time in the school in what is a truly wonderful supportive community.
May 2010 – Nancy Robinson announced as principal ahead of school’s move to academy status
March 2011 – Holywells High School officially becomes an academy. It is renamed Ipswich Academy
April 2011 – students get a new uniform
2011 – The academy establishes a sixth form
March 2012 – Proposals for the new Ipswich Academy complex are submitted to borough planners
July 2013 – an Ofsted inspection reveals several concerning areas for the school
August 2013 – The academy saw its GCSE five A*-C pass rate, including maths and English, increase to 31%
November 2013 – Education Secretary, Michael Gove opens the new building
June 2014 – A follow-up inspection finds the school still has weaknesses
August 2014 – Proportion of A-level grades awarded at A*-C at the academy stands at 58%. The school did not reveal its GCSE results
September 2014 – Nancy Robinson steps down
“I am confident that the Leadership team can make the important improvements that are needed at the Academy to deliver great outcomes for all students.
“I look forward to seeing the accelerated progress which all involved deserve and which I know will happen over the coming year.”
Announcing the news, Steve Bolingbroke, chief executive of the trust, added: “Nancy decided after four years running the academy that she wanted to stand down as principal.
“There has been a huge period of change and she has helped to put the basics in place and now she has decided to move on.
“A good school is more than just the principal. There is a loyal and talented teaching staff and a great leadership team taking this school forward, just one member of that team has changed.”
Despite the critical Ofsted report, the school did post a rise in GCSE results last summer, however this year’s grades were not released by the school.
Following the resignation of Ms Robinson, the trust announced that Pamela Hutchison would be installed as the new executive principal.
She is currently the principal of another academy within the trust but will spend the majority of her time in Ipswich in an effort to turn around the fortunes of the institution.
The trust will then focus on the long term leadership of the school
Mr Bolingbroke said: “She is a very experienced lady who has taken three schools out of serious weaknesses and turned them around.
“She will be great for the school in its current situation. She has been working with us on a number of strategies.
“We have got a lot of important things to do quickly and the important thing now is fixing those things as quickly as possible.”
In the months since its critical Ofsted report, Ipswich Academy has had monitoring inspections, in which it has been said the school still has major improvements to make.
Mr Bolingbroke reaffirmed the trust’s commitment to improving Ipswich Academy and when asked whether it was hoped the academy could become outstanding or good, he said: “It is not a hope, it is what we want to do.”