School with 'sky high' ambitions aims to be 'best in Ipswich'

Mo Rahman, inset, headteacher of Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich

Mo Rahman wants Sprites Primary Academy to be Ipswich's best school - but some pupils have set their sights even further - Credit: Sprites Primary Academy

It might technically be rated as "inadequate" at the moment, but this primary school has ambitions to be the best in Ipswich - and who knows, maybe even the world.

In headteacher Mo Rahman's own words, Sprites Primary Academy has "taken a battering" in recent years - with not just one but two Ofsted inspections rating the Stonechat Road school as "inadequate".

The last full inspection report in 2019 opened by saying: "For too long, pupils at Sprites Primary Academy have had an inadequate quality of education."

It went on to say that "too many pupils behave poorly", adding: "Pupils are not interested, enthused or excited about their learning."

Joining in January 2020, Mr Rahman said: "The school had been on a downward spiral for many years - our job is to turn that around."

Just months into his tenure, schools were plunged into lockdown and remote learning amid the coronavirus crisis - making the turnaround even more difficult.

But Mr Rahman says he has been "really impressed with the community, children and the staff" as the REAch2 academy revamped the curriculum and tackled previous poor behaviour.

Most Read

At the heart of the revamp has been simplifying the school's messages to children and approach to teaching by boiling everything down to three core values - safe, polite and aspirational.

The changes seem to be having an impact - at a monitoring visit by Ofsted in March, inspector Tessa Holledge said: "Leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action to provide education in the current circumstances."

She added: "The trust has provided significant support, which is helping to improve early years provision and the teaching of reading.

"Plans are in place to further develop mathematics and the curriculum in other subjects."

She also praised the new curriculum and an intervention board put in place to challenge school leaders to improve education.

Children at Sprites Prime Academy on their Green Day for Deaf Awareness

Sprites Primary Academy pupils on a recent 'green day' at the school - Credit: Sprites Primary Academy

But perhaps the biggest change is the difference to the school's ambitions.

Mr Rahman told pupils when he started his job: "We're going to go sky high," telling them the "ambition is to be the best school in Ipswich".

And he couldn't have been more proud when one pupil, Joey, went one better by saying Sprites should aim to be the "best school in the world".

"That's the spirit," Mr Rahman said.

Sprites Primary Academy headteacher Mo Rahman

Mo Rahman took over the helm at Sprites Primary Academy in January 2020 - Credit: Sprites Primary Academy

The school is hoping its efforts will be recognised by during a full Ofsted inspection, due to be published over the coming months.

"There's no reason why a school should do badly," Mr Rahman said.

"There isn't any excuse. We need to serve the community."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter