Struggling school is first to be matched with new head under scheme

Craig D�Cunha, pictured at a reception with the deputy prime minister, has been appointed headteache

Craig D�Cunha, pictured at a reception with the deputy prime minister, has been appointed headteacher of Suffolk New Academy - Credit: Archant

The first appointment under a government scheme to place outstanding heads in struggling schools has been made in Suffolk.

Craig D’Cunha is the new principal at Suffolk New Academy in Ipswich – formerly Chantry High School – which was placed in special measures earlier this year.

The appointment is the first made as part of the Talented Leaders initiative to find exceptional headteachers for schools in deprived areas that struggle to recruit.

Mr D’Cunha has already started working at the school – previously run by Suffolk County Council and taken over by Suffolk New College – which was ranked “inadequate” by Ofsted in all four key areas following an inspection in December.

The academy recently joined Gusford Primary School, Hillside Primary School and Sidegate Primary School as part of the Active Learning Trust following a sponsorship review.

Mr D’Cunha, who leaves a vice principal position at Neale Wade Academy, Cambridgeshire, was chosen from more than 100 applicants.

He will be supported in his work by national education charity, the Future Leaders Trust, and the school will also receive a £50,000 Leadership Sustainability Fund.

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Mr D’Cunha, who this week attended a reception with schools minister David Laws and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, said: “Suffolk was one of the first local authorities to come on board with the Talented Leaders programme and I’m really pleased to be working here. It’s a diverse area with as many poorer areas as wealthy and I want to make sure that every child has opportunity and choice to change their future.

“My new school, Suffolk New Academy, has been through challenging times recently but it has enormous potential. I believe that the staff, students, community will make this an outstanding school.”

The Talented Leaders programme will be matching more heads with schools over the coming months, including further appointments in Suffolk.

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