Chantry Academy makes ‘rapid improvement to move out from special measures

Official opening of Chantry Academy. Pictured is headteacher Craig D'Cunha.

Official opening of Chantry Academy. Pictured is headteacher Craig D'Cunha. - Credit: Gregg Brown

An academy in Ipswich which was placed in special measures because of poor standards of achievement has been praised for making “rapid improvement”.

Chantry Academy said it had taken a “significant step” forward after being taken out of special measures following its latest Ofsted inspection.

The report said pupils were “happy at the school and work hard” and the gap between disadvantaged students was “narrowing rapidly”.

However it found the school’s teaching and pupils still required improvement, noting that pupils did not make enough progress in English or mathematics, while boys, in particular, were still often under performing.

The school’s overall effectiveness was also found to require improvement, though it has been upgraded from inadequate.

It comes 18 months after Chantry, then named Suffolk New Academy, was put in special measures for its poor performance.

Inspectors visiting in December 2014 found students’ disruptive behaviour was not always tackled by teachers. Standards were said to have “declined significantly ... and were very low”.

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Chantry’s principal, Craig D’Cunha, reaffirmed the academy’s need to continue progressing.

“This marks a significant step on our journey towards ‘outstanding’ learning for our students,” he said.

“Over the last 18 months we have made constant improvements, where all aspects of the school have been reviewed, changed and enhanced.

“We are now confident that we have the foundations of a school that will provide a high quality learning experience - not just against the Ofsted standards, but more importantly the standards the Chantry community set for us.

“The report has clearly given us areas for improvement, and we are already working on these to ensure the momentum of the last 18 months is not lost.”

Over that time, the school moved into a new £14.3 million building and saw its proportion of students receiving five or more A* to C GCSE grades double from 23% to 46%.

Inspectors praised the “effective leadership” of Mr D’Cunha and his senior teak for bringing about “rapid improvement”.

School leaders and governors were said to have focussed “effectively upon challenging under performance and strengthening the quality of teaching” and said Chantry’s strategies for improving pupils’ literacy had been “very successful”.

The Active Learning Trust, which runs the school, praised the progress made.

“I am particularly pleased that the inspector noted the positive attitudes to learning shown by pupils at the Academy which I have seen in my own visits to Chantry,” said chief executive Gary Peile.

“I know Craig and his team agree with the report outcomes in terms of what needs to be done to raise standards at the Academy but the report clearly shows that the actions taken so far provide a very strong base for improvement.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer also welcomed the improvements.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” he said, “It’s credit to Mr D’Cunha, his leadership team and the staff at the school.

“Chantry is now in better shape than it has been for many years and I’m confident that with continued hard work, it’s on it’s way to being one of the best schools in Ipswich.”

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