Ipswich sixth form One set to become academy and make announcement today

One sixth form in Ipswich

One sixth form in Ipswich

The largest sixth form in Ipswich, One, is set to become an academy.

Confirmation of the bombshell news is expected to be announced later today by the Ipswich sixth form, formerly known as Suffolk One, it is understood.

The sixth form has been at the centre of controversy recently after announcing more than 30 members of staff, including teachers, will lose their jobs as bosses work to save £2million in the next academic year.

The sixth form, which has been running a deficit for the past four years, was also working to pay off a £2million loan from Suffolk County Council, which was paid to cover the cost of buying their £72million site off Scrivener Drive.

Last night, a spokesman for One did not confirm or deny whether the sixth form is set to become an academy.

But it is understood One will confirm today that it is cutting ties with the local authority.

Education chiefs at the sixth form are expected to announce the move will give them a stronger financial future among other benefits.

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The sixth form was formed in September 2010 and replaced the sixth form provision of many secondary schools in the area.

It has 1,750 students and 196 full-time equivalent staff.

Meanwhile, up to around 30 teachers at One could strike in the summer term in protest against the previously announced job losses.

The NASUWT has balloted its 30 members at One and claims it wants to be involved in discussions with the sixth form about its deficit and its future.

Dan McCarthy, national executive member for the Suffolk branch of the NASUWT, said: “We expect it to be overwhelming in terms of the number of people voting because our membership has increased by four people. The teachers do not want to do this but... what’s important to the staff is the school’s standards.”

Suffolk’s NUT members at One have not been balloted.

In response to the threatened strike action, a spokesman for One said: “Talks (with staff) are ongoing. If they (staff who are members of NASUWT) do decide to take industrial action in the summer over the cuts that we are facing as an institution, then we will create a plan of action to ensure that minimal disruption occurs.”