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Ipswich high school's 'success story' boosted by social mobility grant

PUBLISHED: 19:00 25 September 2019

Richard Lister, Chair of the Ipswich Opportunity Area and School Principal of Ipswich Academy,  Helen Winn  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Richard Lister, Chair of the Ipswich Opportunity Area and School Principal of Ipswich Academy, Helen Winn Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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An Ipswich high school is celebrating a dramatic change of fortunes boosted by a grant aimed to improve social mobility.

Richard Lister, Chair of the Ipswich Opportunity Area Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRichard Lister, Chair of the Ipswich Opportunity Area Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In 2016, Ipswich Academy were told by Ofsted inspectors they required drastic improvement, however, after a change of leadership and a multi-million pound grant from Ipswich Opportunity Areas, the school has turned round it's fortunes, receiving a "good" rating from the education regulator.

The funding was introduced in January 2018 after Ipswich was selected as one of 12 opportunity areas announced by the Department for Education with the aim of improving children's education results and teaching in a bid to enhance social mobility.

Local schools have since received a share of a £72m pot put aside for the 12 areas.

School principal, Helen Winn says that the school, which is in the heart of the Opportunity Area in Ipswich, and has worked hard to narrow the attainment gap for disadvantaged children, leading to Ipswich Academy achieving its best ever GCSE results in August.

Richard Lister, Chair of the Ipswich Opportunity Area and School Principal of Ipswich Academy,  Helen Winn  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRichard Lister, Chair of the Ipswich Opportunity Area and School Principal of Ipswich Academy, Helen Winn Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"This is another landmark for Ipswich Academy and an opportunity for us to show the whole of the UK what an amazing, hard-working community we have," she said.

"We work to ensure that every child's future is determined by their talent and hard work, rather than where they began.

"Everyone has the right to high-quality education in this country and if it can be achieved here, it can be achieved anywhere."

The Ofsted report recognised that academy leaders had 'transformed the culture of the school' and were 'building strong and effective partnerships with the community' ensuring pupils and their families have the best possible experience at the high school helped by the generous grant.

Richard Lister, Independent Chair of Ipswich Opportunity Area Partnerships board, said: "Ipswich Academy is one of the town's great success stories. But, we shouldn't see it in isolation, there is great progress being made and it is just a joy to be part of a system which is actually making things better.

"So we are able to but additional money into Ipswich Academy to do a whole range of things which I think has enabled them to begin to try new things, to do the things that I think they were already doing well, better, and you can begin to see it in the outcomes that we have got.

"Ipswich Academy is an excellent example of how, by working as a whole community, we can transform opportunities for everyone, ensuring our children have the skills and achievements to face the future with ambition and self-confidence."

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