Labour Councillors call for school intervention

The Labour Group on Suffolk County Council have expressed their anger following the announcement of the shocking GCSE results and Ofsted report on Ipswich Academy and are calling for improvements at the school to be made immediately.

The report from Ofsted following their most recent inspection paints a very distressing picture for the pupils, parents, staff and those involved with the school. The report identifies ongoing failings at the school including the inconsistent quality of teaching across the academy, a lack of realistic targets for improvement, too much low-level disruptive behaviour in lessons and not enough in place to deal with this problem.

The GCSE results are amongst the worst in the country with just 19% of pupils getting 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including English and maths; the average across England is 52%. The poor GCSE results this year follow on from only 30% of students reaching the required standard in 2013 and just 23% in 2012.

There has been a long history of failing at the school and Labour Councillors are deeply concerned that the children of the area are being left behind. All the strengths identified in the report are the result of the action of the new Principal, but she is clearly not receiving sufficient support from either the academy trust or the Department for Education. In particular far more needs to be done to attract quality permanent staff to the school. We are also very concerned that there has been no effective involvement with the County Council’s education department.

Labour are calling on the County Council to work with the Department for Education and its Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), Dr Tim Coulson to take action to solve the problems that have beset the school for a number of years.

Cllr Sandy Martin, Labour Group Leader said; “Sadly, the shocking GCSE results and poor Ofsted judgment come as no surprise: we have been calling on the administration to intervene actively in Suffolk’s less well performing academies for some time. The only way to turn the school around is to take firm and decisive action. There are a number of fundamental changes which all need to be made.”

The actions include
• Urgent and far reaching support for the sponsor – The Learning Schools Trust – to enable them to improve – or if this cannot be achieved, a new sponsor needs to be found urgently.
• More money and better guidance needs to be made available to recruit high quality teachers, with experience of turning around failing schools.
• An improvement in the way the Suffolk County Council communicates with academies and can bring resources to support them, with an emphasis on agreed action plans, rather than criticism from the sidelines.
• Reversing cuts to the School Improvement Service.

Cllr Martin added; “For many years we have been told that this school would improve, we are sick of waiting for this to happen. Every year the school does not improve its pupils are being failed. The County Council can no longer wash its hands of Ipswich Academy and the Academy and its sponsor have to step up to the plate and work with all parties to improve the education of the pupils attending the school.”

NOTES TO EDITORS
The Ofsted inspection report can be found at http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/136453

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