Schools could be turned into academies

TWO Ipswich schools could be turned into academies in a bid to boost standards, it emerged today.

Josh Warwick

TWO Ipswich schools could be turned into academies in a bid to boost standards, it emerged today.

Holywells High School, in Lindbergh Road, and Chantry High School, in Mallard Way, have been earmarked as potential candidates as part of a £400m government drive to improve GCSE results.

Neither school managed to reach the benchmark of 30 per cent of students achieving five GCSEs between A* and C, including maths and English.

Along with Holywells and Chantry, two other schools in Suffolk have also been told to improve - Castle Manor in Haverhill and The Denes in Lowestoft. In Norfolk, seven schools are being targeted, while in Essex there are 17.

Suffolk County Council said the authority was in the process of implementing “detailed action plans” to address the issues.

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A spokesman said: “The additional resources which the government is proposing are welcome and will help schools to deliver their plans for improvement.

“Secondary schools in Suffolk do well for their pupils and at the present time there are none that have an adverse judgement from Ofsted inspectors.”

Nationally, nearly one in five secondary schools in England have been warned by schools secretary Ed Balls to improve their GCSE exam results or face closure.

An extra 70 academies, costing £195m, will spearhead the reform, so that almost one in ten secondary schools will have academy status by September 2010.

However, the NUT has slammed the government's proposals, describing them as “ill-informed, insensitive and counter-productive”.

Martin Goold, Suffolk NUT secretary, said: “Academies are not the answer - they just take schools away from local authority influence, worsen employment conditions, bring in private concerns and often odd business partners who are not really interested in education.”

The National Challenge, launched by education ministers yesterday, requires every secondary school in England to have achieved five GCSEs including English and maths within three years.

Local authorities have 50 days to come up with individual plans to improve results or face closure.

No one was available from Holywells or Chantry today.

Is your child a pupil at Holywells or Chantry? Should they be turned into academies? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail