Suffolk

Academy plans for Ipswich 'woeful' special needs school

The Bridge School, Ipswich Image copyright Google
Image caption The Bridge School in Ipswich was rated as inadequate in all areas after Ofsted inspectors visited in March

A school where children with special needs were routinely physically restrained is set to become an academy.

The Bridge School in Ipswich was rated as inadequate in all areas by Ofsted inspectors, who described it as "woeful" and "dire" earlier this year.

The school, for children with severe and complex learning difficulties, is due to formally convert to an academy in November.

Five new teachers are also set to join from September.

Watchdog inspectors cited a host of concerns, including "serious and ongoing concerns about safety" and a "long-standing and serious decline in standards", in their report published in May.

The school had previously achieved a "good" rating in 2015.

Interim leaders

An application for a sponsor academy was approved in May, according to data from the Department for Education.

An update on the school's website confirmed the academy process was under way and that interim leaders and an executive board had been secured until then.

Judith Mobbs, Suffolk County Council's assistant director for inclusion and skills, said the secretary of state had decided to convert the school into an academy.

"Details of the sponsoring academy trust will be announced by the Department for Education in September," she said.

The school and county council admitted in a joint statement in May it was not doing well enough and aimed to turn the situation around.

The school has outlined improvement measures, including putting new safeguarding policies in place, the design of a new curriculum and a staff training schedule.

The Ofsted report recognised the leadership team understood the problems and urgent work on standards was under way.

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