Sponser of schools in Methwold, Mildenhall and Thetford put under restrictions

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The sponsor of 16 schools, including the Iceni Academy in Methwold and Mildenhall College Academy, has been restricted from expansion.

Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) is one of 14 academy sponsors to have been restricted in full from expanding by the Department of Education.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “All children deserve a first-class education and we make no apologies for wanting high standards in all schools. We are tough on under-performance in any school - be it an academy or a council-run school.”

ATT sponsors seven academies in Norfolk and Suffolk, including three junior schools in Thetford, Mildenhall College Academy and the Iceni Academy in Methwold.

All five of these schools have said they feel supported by the sponsor and are improving.

Mildenhall College Academy began a collaboration with ATT eight months ago.

Principal, Susan Byles, said: “The levels of improvement that have taken place at Mildenhall College Academy in its first eight months have been significant; not least the growth in the quality of our teaching being judged good or outstanding increasing to 86%, the best it’s ever been.”

Ms Byles said the school was on course to continue its trend of year-on-year improvements in GCSE and A Level results.

Gee Cook, Principal at Iceni Academy, said: “Our pupils are increasingly proud of their achievements; they expect more from us and themselves and have responded magnificently to the challenging target grades set for them. Our data suggests that the academy is on target to achieve the challenging targets set by ATT and we hope to be celebrating SAT, GCSE and A level successes in the summer.”

The DofE has said that when the ATT can demonstrate that students at its schools are receiving a good education restrictions will be lifted.

Diamond Academy, Admirals Academy and Norwich Road Academy, all in Thetford, have all said they are seeing improvements.

Ian Cleland, CEO of Academy Transformation Trust said: “We are committed to transforming the learning opportunities and aspirations for all our pupils who are at the heart of everything we do.

“We have focused our expertise and time on consolidating our 16 academies. We look forward to seeing rapid improvement across all our academies and are expecting this to be reflected in the Summer’s SATs, GCSE and A-level results.”