Exam results will continue to rapidly improve at Chantry Academy - headteacher

Youngsters get a first look inside the recently opened Chantry Academy. Principal Craig D'Cunha wit

Youngsters get a first look inside the recently opened Chantry Academy. Principal Craig D'Cunha with some of the pupils

‘Nothing stands in our way’.

That is the level of confidence Chantry Academy’s headteacher Craig D’Cunha has that standards will continue to dramatically rise as students settle into their multi-million pound new school.

The percentage of students getting five or more A*-C GCSEs including English and maths, almost doubled in the summer from 24% to 46%, in a year of major change for the school, formerly known as Suffolk New Academy.

Not only is the school’s dated old building being torn down, the academy has also changed its headteacher and sponsor – the organisation responsible for its performance. In January, Ofsted called the school ‘inadequate’ and placed it into special measures.

Mr D’Cunha, who started at the school as part of the Government’s prestigious ‘Talented Leaders’ programme in February, said it was a new dawn for the school.

He said: “Nothing is going to prevent us from reaching the target, we are going to work very hard, we are determined, the students are on board, we have great facilities; the students are capable and we have got the teachers who can deliver.”

“I cannot see any barriers, we are looking forward to a positive year which is all about the quality of teaching and learning and the progress of students.”

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The Government forced the school’s previous sponsor New Academies Trust, run by Suffolk New College, to relinquish control of the school after a set of poor exam results. New sponsor, The Active Learning Trust, formally took over the school, this month.

The school’s 2016 GCSE target is for 56% of students to achieve the benchmark grades. The improvement in this year’s results meant 30 more students were able to choose their first choice college.

Mr D’Cunha said the fact the number of students enrolled was up was testament to the “faith” parents have in the school. There are 700 students at the school, with only five Year 7 places, out of a total of 180 available.

Mr D’Cunha added: “We are delighted with the progress we have made and the students have come back really boosted by the new building. The staff are absolutely focused and the results are testament to their hard work.”

Ben Gummer MP for Ipswich praised the school’s direction. He said: “I have real hope now that Chantry will soon prove to be one of the great success stories of our town with its turn around.

“Craig D’Cunha is a first class head and he and his team at the school have already shown the effect in results by exceptional leadership, rigorous standards. The new school buildings are magnificent and I have no doubt that in not so long a time the results will match.”

The new building benefits students and staff by being far “lighter and brighter” than the old building, Mr D’Cunha said.

There are new classrooms, a library, sports hall and auditorium all within the improved facilities.

The building was provided with funding from the Government’s £2billion Priority School Building Programme.

A spokesman for the Department for Education, which is ultimately responsible for academies, said: “Hundreds of schools, including Chantry Academy, are being turned around thanks to the help of strong academy sponsors – education experts who know exactly what they have to do to make a failing school outstanding.”

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