Paradigm Trust eyes Ipswich Academy, Murrayfield and Piper's Vale schools as 'destination of choice' in future
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 June 2018
The new boss of a multi-academy trust tasked with transforming the fortunes of three Ipswich schools has said there is no reason why they can’t become the town’s schools of choice .
Bill Holledge, who has worked on and off with the Paradigm Trust for the last decade, took over as interim chief executive after the death of Amanda Phillips last summer, and took on the role permanently in March.
The trust specialises in turning around under-performing schools, and runs Ipswich Academy – which is rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted – as well as two of its feeder primary schools – Murrayfield (inadequate) and Piper’s Vale (requires improvement).
Mr Holledge said he has been buoyed by progress so far and more was on the way.
“A key starting point for us was to help teachers teach better lessons,” he said.
“It’s the opportunity to really hone their practice in the classroom and raise their expectations about what the students were capable of achieving.
“I think it will not be long until Ipswich Academy is the destination of choice for pupils across the area.”
Mr Holledge revealed that a host of measures have already been used to drive improvements, including minimum targets, utilising its expert staff from its London schools and using an in-house teacher development scheme to help retain staff.
Ipswich Academy had the second highest progress rate of any school in central Ipswich, according to the new chief executive, while music was one of its strong areas of achievement.
He added: “I think we want all the schools in the trust to be sustainably great schools, the destination of choice for parents and carers.
“School improvement is a difficult task, there are no real quick fixes. You improve the basics and then it takes time for the rewards to come through.
“It’s really heartening to see that students are now reaping the rewards of all those improvements and going on to great things, whether that be study at sixth form colleges, apprenticeships or other kinds of employment.
“There is no reason why Ipswich Academy can’t be as strong as the other schools locally, and we are already a good way of the way there.”