Ipswich headteacher backs academy sponsor Reach2 which is set to take over six schools

Claire Flintoff

Claire Flintoff - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich headteacher has said it is “fantastic” news that a new academy sponsor is set to take over six Suffolk schools.

The schools are set to move away from Suffolk County Council control in the summer to move under the leadership of Reach2, the biggest primary academy trust in the country.

Two of the six schools are in the Ipswich area: Sprites Primary and Martlesham Primary.

In February, three other Ipswich primaries – St Helen’s, The Oaks and Whitton – came together to launch their own academy trust, Ipswich Primary Academies Trust.

Academies are schools which have separated from local authority control and have more powers to set their own budgets. The Department for Education is responsible for maintaining and improving their standards. Some have an academy sponsor, like Reach2, which guides a school’s leadership team.

Claire Flintoff, headteacher of St Helen’s, said Reach2 is a “high performing” academy trust.

“I am really delighted that Reach2 is coming into Suffolk because we know they are a high performing academy trust and we can learn a lot from them setting up our own trust.

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“Ipswich Primary Academies Trust has received a lot of support from Reach2 as we are setting up; we are really looking forward to working closely with them to improve standards in Suffolk.

The other four schools Reach2 is set to take over are Crowfoot Community Primary in Beccles and three Lowestoft primaries: Meadow, St Margaret’s Primary and Northfield St Nicholas.

All of the six schools, barring Northfield, have “requires improvement” Ofsted ratings.

Mrs Flintoff added that John West-Burnham, who is a “nationally and internationally” known education expert, is on the boards of both academy trusts. All three of Ipswich Primary Academies Trust schools have “good” Ofsted ratings – with the aim to become “outstanding”.

She said the initial work around Ipswich Primary Academies Trust was “going really well”, with this year’s exam results set to be “really positive”.

“Our trust is going really well, it is early days but we are seeing lots of advantages in recruiting for September,” she said.

“All three schools are going to have good or outstanding teachers in front of the children. We are attracting staff who are really excited.”

Reach2 is currently responsible for 35 primary schools across the country.

Commenting in a Times Education Supplement article, Steve Lancashire, chief executive of Reach2, said: “Reach2 has a blend of sponsored academies and converter academies, and by bringing high-performing schools together with sponsored schools, we are able to ensure that the best head teachers, leaders and teachers influence improvements in behaviour, in teaching and learning, and create a culture of high expectations across our schools.”