Go-ahead for college to become all-through academy
Wednesday, 31st March 2010.
Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College has had the go-ahead from education secretary Ed Balls to achieve its ambition of becoming an all-through academy for children and young people aged five to 19.
Normally this means new buildings within three years, although funding is not made clear in the statement, which covers a range of education issues, including a section on Suffolk.
Castle Manor and Kirkley in Lowestoft have both had acadamy status approved.
The statement responds to a Government report published this week, which says Castle Manor, once again ranked in the top 200 most improved schools in the country this year, has made ‘remarkable progress’ and recommends fast-tracking the college to all-through academy status.
The recommendation came in the report of an independent review of National Challenge Schools in Suffolk carried out by expert adviser Graham Badman.
The review was carried out in November 2009 and made a series of recommendations to the secretary of state.
Castle Manor’s ambition to become an all-through school stems back to 2003 when Madeleine Vigar was appointed as headteacher.
Ms Vigar said: “I am absolutely delighted with this news. This is a proud day for Castle Manor and its community.
"Our school’s long-standing goal has been to ensure a joined-up approach to learning which takes account of students’ previous learning and ensures that they are prepared for the next phase of education.
"I am certain that this will secure even greater success for children, young people and families in our community.”
In this year’s national league tables Castle Manor demonstrated that its students had made outstanding progress. The number of students achieving five GCSE A*-C grades was significantly above national averages for the second year running.
The creation of an all-through school aims to achieve smoother progression and support for children at all stages of their education and thus lead to further rises in standards.
In his report Mr Badman says: “This transformation is due in no small measure to the determined leadership of the head teacher and her senior management team and the support of the governing body and local authority.”
It praises the school’s focus on standards and behaviour as well as its community roots and high aspirations.
Since September 2008, Castle Manor college has been working in partnership with Castle Hill Community Middle School.
This approach, praised by Ofsted inspectors in February 2009, takes account of students’ previous learning and ensures that they are prepared for the next phase of education, securing success for children and young people of all abilities.
The new all-through Castle Manor will adopt a similar approach for children and young people aged five to 19.
Chair of governors Alan Pearson said: “This news is great for the Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College and great for Haverhill. It recognises the real progress the college has made and allows our vision of all-through education to become reality.
"The recommendations in the report published this week are a reward for the hard work of everyone associated with the school over the last few years.”
Cllr Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people, said: “The minister's 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 three years of being established, and this cannot be guaranteed at present. We are pressing the Government for clarity on this issue.”
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