Preferred new academy trust announced for Felixstowe schools

Felixstowe Academy looks set to be taken over by Unity Schools Partnership Picture: KATY SANDALLS

Felixstowe Academy looks set to be taken over by Unity Schools Partnership Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Unity Schools Partnership have been announced as the preferred new provider for Felixstowe Academy and Langer Primary.

Langer Primary in Felixstowe is also being rebrokered Picture: WENDY TURNER

Langer Primary in Felixstowe is also being rebrokered Picture: WENDY TURNER - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk-based academy trust, has been named by the Department for Education as the likely partner to take over from Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) who have been running the schools for a number of years.

It was announced in November that the trust, which came under pressure from Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, would be relinquishing control of the schools.

Dr Coffey launched a petition to have the provider removed after Felixstowe Academy was deemed ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in November 2017.

It was placed in special measures and has been visited by Ofsted on a number of occasions since. After its most recent monitoring visit in December inspectors said that improvements had taken place across the school but that more work needed to be done to tackle areas such as student absence.

READ MORE: Academy improvement praised - but more work still needed, say inspectors

“I welcome the announcement that both Felixstowe Academy and Langer Academy will have new leadership this year,” said Dr Coffey.

“Unity Schools Partnership already runs schools in Suffolk and one of its directors is the county council cabinet member responsible for education.

“Led by a former schools commissioner who previously had oversight of the academy in recent years, Tim Coulson, I fully expect Unity to hit the ground running and am pleased that they will start working at the school straightaway with AET.

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“What matters in all of this is the children at these schools. I look forward to rapid progress being made in their best interests.”

The two academy providers will now work together for the next term, sharing information and planning their next steps. A progress review will be held at both schools during the Easter break with the Department for Education, before the best way forward for each academy can be agreed.

Julian Drinkall, chief executive of AET said: “Felixstowe Academy has clearly turned a corner with this most recent Ofsted inspection, and we were delighted that parents now say they would recommend the school. Results had improved last summer, and we expect to see further improvement this August. Our new Head at Langer has also hit the ground running and is making good headway with the improvements that are needed.

“We will be working collaboratively with Unity Schools Partnership to ensure that the momentum continues to build so that both academies provide an education that helps every pupil go on to lead a remarkable life. We continue to be absolutely committed to Felixstowe families, and will keep our foot to the floor to ensure their children get the education they deserve.”

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership added:“Unity Schools Partnership schools welcome the opportunity to work with AET and Felixstowe and Langer schools. We look forward to serving the people of Felixstowe through providing the most amazing education possible. We will work closely with AET and the DfE over the coming two terms as we plan for the new academic year.”

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