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30 March 2010, 13:05 | Updated: 30 March 2010, 13:08
Schools in the Ipswich, Lowestoft and Haverhill areas are set to benefit from around £3 million of additional investment following an independent review of National Challenge Schools in Suffolk.
The review was carried out in November 2009 and made a series of recommendations to the Secretary of State for Education, which he has now approved.
The funding will make a contribution to the creation of two academies (Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College and Kirkley Community High School) and two National Challenge Trusts (Chantry High School and The Denes High School). These schools will work with strong education partners to help them build on the good work already being done to further improve levels of achievement for young people. Additional specialist advisors are also being made available to schools.
The review carried out on behalf of the DCSF (Department for Children Schools and Families) by Graham Badman recognised the quality of leadership both at school and County Council level and made it clear that there was, ‘confidence in the ability and determination of Suffolk to build on the work already underway to further raise levels of achievement for young people in the county’.
County Councillor Graham Newman, Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Young People said: “The Ministers’ announcement is silent on the most important element of the review, which is the allocation of capital resources for new academies at Kirkley in Lowestoft and Castle Manor in Haverhill. It will be vital for both schools to have this investment. Because of the election, we will have to wait to see if this will be forthcoming. Most academies expect new buildings within 3 years of being established, and this cannot be guaranteed at present. We are pressing the DCSF for clarity on this issue.”
Councillor Newman continued: “The aim of this review was to check on the progress of our National Challenge schools and to see if there were further resources that could be made available to help them build on the good progress they have already made. I am grateful for the positive comments made by Ministers about Suffolk’s approach. We remain 100% committed to raising levels of achievement for all young people and will work hard with all schools to ensure this happens.”
Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: “I want to thank Graham Badman for his review of National Challenge schools in Suffolk and the local authority for working so constructively with him and producing their implementation plan which we have approved. The authority’s plan will improve school leadership, promote collaboration between schools and help ensure that all young people in Suffolk have the opportunity to go to a good school where they can succeed.
“I have agreed to provide the authority with up to £3 million for a range of school improvement measures including plans for two new Academies and two new National Challenge Trusts.
“All of these proposals are good news for young people in Suffolk and will further strengthen the local authority’s ability and capacity to provide excellent schools and I look forward to their continued improvement.”
News of the investment also means Felixstowe's super-school could open as early as next September. Plans to merge Orwell and Deben High haven't been approved by the Council yet, but it agrees the Academy could open ahead of schedule.