Principal and vice-principal leave Ipswich’s Suffolk New Academy in shock departures

Suffolk new academy

Suffolk new academy - Credit: Lucy taylor

The two heads of the Suffolk New Academy have left.

Parents and pupils at the 900 student Suffolk New Academy, once Chantry High, were left stunned when it was announced that both the principal and the vice principal had suddenly left.

And Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has warned the academy sponsors, Suffolk New College, that they badly need to get their act together if the academy is not going to go on to record the “lamentable” Ofsted results which the college has.

A major fall-out between the Suffolk College and the Suffolk Academy is believed to be the reason why the Academy principal Andrew Fell and vice principal Jamie Daniels have left, suddenly, with no warning and little explanation. It is understood that as many as ten teachers have recently quit the academy.

Says Mr Gummer: “Neither institution is performing satisfactorily and the college needs to have a long hard think about this. Its own performance is lamentable and it needs to do something which can turn round the whole operation.”

A formal statement from the Suffolk New College said it was in the process of changing the leadership and had appointed two people to time-share the role of Principal while they search for an acceptable replacement.

The college declined to explain the history or qualifications of the two replacements, Shelagh Potter and Ken Jones. Department heads were notified by email but no formal explanation has been offered to teachers and parents.

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The very fact that they did not have a replacement lined up suggests that the departures were unplanned and, as Mr Gummer suggests, the result of the bad feeling between the two bodies.

Mr Gummer praised the departing principal Mr Fell for “the long campaign he lead for the new building with which I was glad to help. I would like to thank him for his work at Chantry and at Suffolk New Academy.”

While Ofsted has rated the Suffolk new College as poor and in need of improvement the Department of Education has rated the Academy as in need of significant improvement after 2013/14 results in which only 24% of students achieved grades A* to C for five GCSEs including Maths and English.

The job ahead, as Mr Gummer says, is formidable and needs to be carefully considered rather than acting in haste.