High school set to become Waveney’s first academy
Lowestoft's biggest school, which had been on special measures, is to become Waveney's first Academy.
Kirkley Community High School will assume academy status from September in a move hailed by its head teacher as positive news for its pupils, teaching staff and the local community.
From September, Kirkley will be sponsored by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) - which has the slogan 'To make our best better' - and which also includes Clacton Coastal Academy in Essex and the prospective Felixstowe Academy.
It is a multi-Academy Trust, which means it is able to manage any number of schools and academies.
With five other schools in Suffolk having already taken on academy status, and seven in Norfolk, staff and governors from the school in Kirkley Run were told of the changes during a meeting with headteacher Richard Pickard this week.
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He said: 'As you are well aware of our relatively recent past, we've been on special measures and there has been a deficit in the budget.
'To become an academy will be a major benefit to all the pupils and the community in the local area.
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'This is really, really positive news and something that will provide a real statement for Lowestoft.'
Following Suffolk County Coucnil schools organisation review, Kirkley will be accepting children aged from 11 to 16 from September - moving away from the 13 to 18 comprehensive schooling, which has been the case at the school for decades.
Graham Newman, county councillor with responsibility for schools and young people, said: 'Changing to academy status at the same time as moving to an 11-16 school presents the school with a once in a lifetime 'fresh start'.
'By appointing a very experienced sponsor who is able to provide strong leadership and support services, the school will be supported in bringing about a step change in pupil performance and enable it to be removed from special measures as quickly as possible.
A spokesman for AET said: 'The Academies Enterprise Trust is delighted to become the sponsor of a new Academy in Lowestoft.'
In the past few weeks, Kirkley has also been working with Comberton Village College in Cambridge as part of the move to establishing school-to-school partnerships in which outstanding schools support other schools within their region.
Mr Pickard confimed that as part of the sponsorship deal - which would help put Kirkley on 'an even keel' - the school would also be helped out by Samuel Ward School at Haverhill which already has Academy status.