Twenty-one new teachers start at Ipswich Academy as Ofsted praises improvements

Ipswich Academy principal Amanda Phillips.

Ipswich Academy principal Amanda Phillips.

Ipswich Academy is moving closer to coming out of special measures, according to a new report from Ofsted.

Inspectors say in a monitoring report that the academy in Braziers Wood Road is “taking effective action” to improve standards.

While acknowledging there is still “a lot to do” before removal of the “special measures” status imposed in February 2015 - the lowest ranking given by Ofsted - they say things are moving in the right direction.

It also emerged there has been a big teaching shake-up at the academy, with 13 members of staff leaving and 21 new recruits starting this term.

The report, based on an inspection in July, said: “Extensive support and training for staff are having mixed results. Some have responded positively and are showing clear signs of increased effectiveness.

“Others have not and consequently they will be leaving the school at the end of this term.”

The report by inspector John Mitcheson continued: “Senior leaders recognise that despite additional training and support, not enough middle leaders, particularly those leading core and foundation subjects, understand fully how to secure improvements to the quality of provision and outcomes for pupils.”

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The school’s principal and executive principal of sponsors the Paradigm Trust, Amanda Phillips, said teachers were engaging pupils, and consistency in teaching had been improved across the school.

She added: “Overall, staff have responded positively to the changes and have embraced the new ethos. However, as the report makes clear, we have not baulked from taking action where necessary.”

Following the latest inspection, inspectors hailed a host of improvements introduced since its last visit.

Among those were reducing lessons from 100 minutes to 60 minutes to help keep pupils focused, giving Year 11 students access to study support areas before and after school and during holidays, and overhauling subject leadership.

The document added that “a wider range of opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding is helping to promote their better behaviour and attitudes towards learning,” and reorganising groups into similar abilities was “enabling teachers to plan learning suited to the most able pupils and to those who may need additional support.”

The report follows a positive set of GCSE results last month in which 39.2% of its Year 11 pupils achieved five A*-C grades – an improvement of almost 15% on last year.

Ms Phillips, added: “We are very pleased that once again Ofsted has recognised the enormous amount of work being carried out by staff, pupils and parents to raise standards at Ipswich Academy.

“We are aware that more works needs to be done at the academy, but this report – alongside this year’s improved GCSE results – strengthens our belief that we are on track to achieve this.”