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Paradigm Trust which runs schools in Ipswich appoints successor to Amanda Phillips

PUBLISHED: 15:40 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:44 05 March 2018

Amanda Phillips, who drove rapid and sustainable improvements at Ipswich Academy. Picture: ARCHANT

Amanda Phillips, who drove rapid and sustainable improvements at Ipswich Academy. Picture: ARCHANT

A London multi-academy trust which runs three schools in Ipswich has appointed a successor to its former “inspirational” chief executive who died last year.

Flowers and tributes to Amanda Phillips were laid outside Murrayfield Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Flowers and tributes to Amanda Phillips were laid outside Murrayfield Primary School in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Amanda Phillips CBE, considered one the country’s top ‘superheads’, was the chief executive of Paradigm Trust when she died after suffering a fall during a holiday in France in June 2017. She was 62.

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The news prompted an outpouring of tributes. Former education secretary Michael Gove described Mrs Phillips as an “inspirational school leader” and “a truly wonderful person”.

She was the principal of Ipswich Academy from September 2015 to January 2017 and was widely credited for rapidly improving standards and results.

Bill Holledge, the new permanent chief executive of Paradigm Trust, a London-based multi-academy trust which currently runs three schools in Ipswich. Picture: PARADIGM TRUST Bill Holledge, the new permanent chief executive of Paradigm Trust, a London-based multi-academy trust which currently runs three schools in Ipswich. Picture: PARADIGM TRUST

She was also the acting principal of Murrayfield Primary School at the time of her death. Both schools, as well as Piper’s Vale Primary Academy, are run by Paradigm Trust, which runs three other schools in London.

The trust has today announced Bill Holledge that has been appointed as the new chief executive.

He has been chief operating officer and acting chief executive for the last nine months.

He said: “I am a passionate advocate of Paradigm Trust’s vision of giving children the educational opportunities they deserve, and a firm believer that the key to improving standards is great teaching.

“Everything we do is about improving outcomes for our students and I am very much looking forward to working with students, staff, parents and carers, and our local communities to continue doing just that.”

How Amanda Phillips set Ipswich Academy back on the right course.

Ipswich Academy was in special measures at the start of 2015 but was rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, with ‘good’ leadership, in late 2016. The proportion of students passing English and maths rose from just 31% in 2015 to 51% in 2017 – by which time both subjects had been reformed to become much tougher.

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

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

David Willis, chairman of Paradigm Trust’s board, described Mr Holledge’s vision as a “compelling proposition”. He added: “This, combined with the contribution he has made, made him the unanimous choice.”

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