New sponsors take over Ipswich Academy and Suffolk New Academy which both have ‘inadequate’ Ofsted marks

Ipswich Academy.

Ipswich Academy. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The new sponsors of two Ipswich academies in special measures have outlined their vision to improve their schools.

Craig D'Cunha, the principal at Suffolk New Academy.

Craig D'Cunha, the principal at Suffolk New Academy.

Paradigm Trust is now responsible for improving Ipswich Academy, formerly Holywells High School, which is rated by Ofsted inspectors as ‘inadequate’.

The Active Learning Trust took over the running of Suffolk New Academy, to be called Chantry Academy in the new academic year, yesterday.

Both schools were placed in special measures earlier this year in damning Ofsted inspections.

The Department for Education removed Ipswich Academy’s former sponsor, the Learning Schools Trust, after a series of poor results.

Amanda Phillips is executive principal of Paradigm Trust and the new principal of the school which was given a high profile opening by then-education secretary Michael Gove in 2013.

She said: “My job is to lead a school which is focused on the future. We will be looking at the successes we want to achieve by July 2016 and beyond.

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“Paradigm Trust has a strong track record on school improvement having successfully delivered significant school improvement on three separate occasions in institutions that were in special measures or required improvement.”

Ipswich Academy will be Paradigm’s first secondary school – it is responsible for three London-based primary schools.

Last month, 25% of Ipswich Academy students achieved five A*-C GCSE grades, including English and maths – up from 19% last year but off the targeted 40%.

Since Ofsted placed the school into special measures in February, inspectors carried out a mini inspection in April which found the academy’s improvement plan was ‘fit for purpose’.

Talks between the DfE and The Active Learning Trust have been underway since new principal Craig D’Cunha took charge of Suffolk New Academy. He joined from another Active Learning Trust school in March, Cambridgshire.

Students’ results at GCSE for getting five A*-C grades, including English and maths, almost doubled last month. Results went from 46% of students got the grades, compared to 24% last year.

The school’s former sponsors, New Academies Trust, run by Suffolk New College, was warned by the DfE in October last year about its performance.

Mr D’Cunha said: “The recent achievements at the academy just go to show how vital good leadership is to a school’s success, and I hope to see these results improve further as I work more closely with the trust.”

The Active Learning Trust sponsors 13 schools across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Chantry will join an existing Active Learning Trust hub of three other schools: Hillside Primary School, Sidegate Primary School and Gusford Primary School.

Chief executive of the trust, Gary Peile, said: “The trust team looks forward to working further with Craig and his staff and pupils, in order to build upon the great work that has already taken place this year.”