Ormiston Endeavour Academy in Ipswich placed in special measures after Ofsted report criticises leaders and teachers

Ormiston Endeavour Academy has been placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Ormiston Endeavour Academy has been placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Another Ipswich academy has been placed in special measures after a damning Ofsted report criticised senior leaders and teachers.

Ormiston Endeavour Academy, formerly Thurleston High School, received the worst possible rating in three out of four key areas following an inspection by the education watchdog in January, it emerged yesterday.

But education chiefs at the academy last night backed new principal Christine Woods, thought to be one of the best headteachers in the country, to turn the school around.

The pledge comes after inspectors warned a “legacy of poor teaching” at the academy in Defoe Road has left too many students “poorly equipped to tackle higher-level work with confidence”.

They also said the academy’s leadership and management was inadequate, saying: “Despite recent improvements…leaders and governors have not done enough to demonstrate that they have the capacity to bring about necessary improvement.”

Their report claimed teachers, while broadly demonstrating good subject knowledge, did not always plan activities that “build on the knowledge and skills of their students”, meaning work was “too hard for some and too easy for others” while others lost concentration.

But they praised the new senior leadership team for improving the quality of teaching, which is “beginning to show better practice in classrooms”.

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Mrs Woods, appointed after the previous principal Samantha Penn resigned in March, said: “There is work to be done but this academy has real potential and, as Ofsted recognises, it is already showing the improvements needed to take it to the next level.

“The staff and students here have the determination and ability to succeed and share my ambition to make Ormiston Endeavour Academy a first-class school.”

Last year, only 46% of GCSE students achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths. In 2013, it was 50%.

The academy, which opened in January 2012 and is attended by 460 pupils, joins Ipswich Academy, formerly Holywells High School, and Suffolk New Academy, formerly Chantry High School, in being placed in special measures by Ofsted over the last four months.

It means around 1,950 youngsters now attend failing academies in Ipswich.

Ormiston Endeavour Academy was previously judged as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted after an inspection in March 2013.

An Ormiston Endeavour Academy spokesman said: “Providing the very highest standards of education to all pupils is our absolute priority and the Ofsted report acknowledges that the improvements we are making are working.

“We have no doubt that the new principal, Christine Woods, will continue to raise standards. She is a brilliant school leader, already marked out as one of the very best in the country by the Future Leaders Trust, and has a strong track record of driving up standards in schools across East Anglia.

“She also made a very strong positive impression during her work previously for two high-achieving Ormiston Academies Trust schools.

“Christine is the best person to lead the school and continue this path of improvement so that all students are achieving their potential at Endeavour.”

Thurleston High School was the second school in Ipswich to become an academy in January 2012.

Academies are free from local authority and national government control, allowing schools to set their own pay and conditions for staff, decide on the curriculum as well as giving them the opportunity to change the length of their terms and school days.

Dr Dan Poulter, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Central Suffolk and North Suffolk, said: “Ormiston has a very troubled history but the new top team are getting to grips with these issues and they have my full support.

“It is not going to turn around overnight but I am confident it will be rated better by Ofsted in the future.”

Jack Abbott, Labour parliamentary candidate for the ward, said: “This is indicative of education policies under this Government and the Tory-led authority and I offer my full support to staff and management at Ormiston.”

Graham White, secretary of Suffolk NUT, insisted staff and parents must not be made “scapegoats” for the academy’s problems.