New launch date setback hits academy

IPSWICH: Uncertainty today surrounds a bid to create Ipswich’s first academy after it emerged the proposed launch date has been delayed for a second time.

Swedish sponsors Kunskapsskolan have revealed that a debate over funding means the opening of the new Ipswich Academy, due to replace Holywells High, will not go ahead on January 1 as planned – they are instead looking at a proposed date of March 1.

Originally the academy was due to open at Holywells, in Lindbergh Road, this September ahead of the move to the new modern learning centre which is due to be built on the site of Gainsborough Sports Centre.

Critics say the latest setback, which centres around funding for the new build, could signal the beginning of the end for the controversial scheme.

One former pupil said: “Kunskapsskolan are reliant on the government to pay for the new building, it underpins their whole teaching method.

“Until the funding is secure they will not go ahead with the academy and they may never get the money – which means the academy may never happen.”

The 18-year-old, who has always opposed the plans, added: “I want to see the students’ education safeguarded.

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“I don’t think Holywells needs to be made into an academy, improvements are being made and the school is heading in the right direction.”

A decision about funding for the academy was put on hold pending the results of the government spending review and talks have now resumed with education bodies working alongside Suffolk County Council to seal the bid.

Steve Bolingbroke, managing director for Kunskapsskolan in the UK, told The Evening Star he is confident they will reach a successful conclusion.

“There is not really any question of us not getting capital funding, the question is how much money is available.

“We have always said we will look at the money available and see what is possible with that.”

However, Mr Bolingbroke said the revised opening date is still only provisional and did not rule out the possibility of it being pushed back even further.

n Should Holywells be converted into an academy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk