Ipswich: MP Ben Gummer warns under-performing headteachers will face the axe in fresh drive to improve Ofsted ratings

MP Ben Gummer is pictured with pupils at Ravenswood Primary School in Ipswich where he outlines his

MP Ben Gummer is pictured with pupils at Ravenswood Primary School in Ipswich where he outlines his 20:20 vision for education. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer today launched his plan to get every school in the town rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted by 2020 – and warned headteachers will face the axe if they are not driving up classroom standards.

Mr Gummer outlined his intentions when visiting staff and pupils at Ravenswood Primary School, where headteacher Karen Mills has dragged the school out of special measures to ‘good’ in the last three years.

As part of his plan to drive up classroom performance, Mr Gummer said he will work with Suffolk County Council and schools to help remove underperforming headteachers and teachers, and make efforts to replace them with leaders who want to succeed.

It comes after new research showed 16 out of the 40 primary and secondary schools in Ipswich are rated by Ofsted as being ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.

Mr Gummer said: “Around one-third of all children in Ipswich – around 6,700 students – currently attend a school not rated good or outstanding. I am not alone in thinking that is not good enough. Other boroughs across England have every school there and we must do the same.

“We need a very firm measure and that is why I have set out this vision. There is no excuse for being in a difficult area.

“I have worked to make sure we have got the right buildings for the schools that need them, and I have done that at Chantry High School (now Suffolk New College) and Holywells High School (now Ipswich Academy).

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“I have worked to bring in new graduate teachers through Teach First – which is beginning this week. This helps encourage strong leadership in Ipswich, and I have also done that with Future Leaders.

“We have got to now bring all that together and I want to focus over the next five years helping every single headteacher that wants to and can get good or outstanding Ofsted ratings.

“I will help them do what they need to do to recruit the best teachers and get rid of those teachers letting down their children and their colleagues.

“I also want to work with the county council when a school is failing, and if the headteacher is not taking that school forward they should be replaced by someone who will.

“Children at Ravenswood Primary School have a clear view of what they need to do to achieve their dreams. In the same way those children understand what they need to do, Ravenswood follows a similar course, and we need to do the same for every school in Ipswich. If we do, we will succeed.”

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