Incoming leadership team at Suffolk New Academy must draw up plan for school’s improvement

Suffolk New Academy

Suffolk New Academy - Credit: Lucy taylor

The new principals at the Suffolk New Academy have less than a week to draw up an improvement plan to present to the Department for Education.

The former Chantry High School announced on yesterday that its principal and vice principal had left. This came after a highly critical report by the Department for Education last year which concluded the academy was in need of significant improvement.

An official statement from the school, which is run by the New Academies Trust, has moved to reassure parents that performance will improve as a result of the shake-up.

The replacement job-sharing principals, Shelagh Potter and Ken Jones, took up their new position on Monday.

Ms Potter has been an independent education consultant since 2004 and has helped raise standards in other academies.

Mr Jones has been a headteacher at schools in Greenwich and Barking and Dagenham. At the Warren Comprehensive School in Barking and Dagenham he raised school results from 35% getting grade A* to C at GCSE, to 84%. He has also worked in quality assurance with Raising Standards Leaders who advise schools on leadership.

The pair have been charged, among other tasks, with working on an improvement plan for the academy which must be presented to the Department for Education by the week commencing November 10.

However, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, has raised concern that is too short notice.

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He said: “The trust now has a job of work to do and they need to provide stable leadership which will bring improved results to the academy.

“They need to think long and hard about this. The job ahead is formidable and needs to be carefully considered rather than acting in haste.”

The trust declined to comment on the length of time the new principals have to compile their report.

Dave Muller, chief executive of the trust, said it was “a very difficult period of change for everyone” but described the new appointments as “very experienced” who will work together to lead the academy.

The school had a disappointing set of results last year with only 24% of students achieving grades A* to C for five GCSEs, including maths and English.

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