Ixworth Free School opens with two days of carnival fun

Ixworth free school opens its door to a new term and new pupils:  students prepare a dance.
Ixworth free school opens its door to a new term and new pupils: students prepare a dance.
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Ixworth Free School opened its doors today on the former site of Ixworth Middle School with two days of carnival-themed activites.

The new academy, run by the Woodbridge-based Seckford Foundation, underwent a month of intense renovations to prepare for the new term.

Nicole Spencer paints a carnival design for the big event tomorrow.

Nicole Spencer paints a carnival design for the big event tomorrow.

Its 138 pupils in Years seven, eight and nine will be taking part in carnival-inspired classes including dance and music, business enterprise sessions, making headdresses, and painting a giant frieze.

Headteacher Nikola King said: “It fits into the philosophy of the Seckford Trust, of community and celebration.

“We felt that it was important to have a project to welcome all of the students to the school and get to know the people they will be with for five years of school life.

“After many months of planning it is good to be able to start the school term and work as a team to produce a positive educational experience.”

Ixworth free school opens its door to a new term and new pupils: Pupils take part in a drum workshop.

Ixworth free school opens its door to a new term and new pupils: Pupils take part in a drum workshop.

The Walsham Road school is the third academy to be opened by the Seckford Foundation, who also runs schools in Beccles and Saxmundham.

It has the capacity for 600 students and will phase in Years 10 and 11 over the next few years.

Ms King said: “We are confident that numbers will rise through the year as more and more people find out about the high standard of education and pastoral care we will be providing.”

The school has taken on pupils from the area’s three former middle schools, Ixworth, Beyton and Blackbourne, as well as pupils from local preparatory schools.

Ixworth free school opens its door to a new term and new pupils: students stretch their artistic muscles.

Ixworth free school opens its door to a new term and new pupils: students stretch their artistic muscles.

Only one member of staff was taken on from the three closed schools, but Ms King said the opportunity had been given to former staff to take up positions at the new academy.

“It was an opportunity for all staff to think about what they wanted to do, with some retiring and some moving away,” she said.

The academy, which is funded entirely by the Government, received a £300,000 grant from the Department for Education to open.

Pupils have been given branded items of uniform for free including blazers, ties, skirts and sportswear.

A first phase of refurbishment and installation of new IT equipment took place in the school during August.

An extensive programme of development will start next February to build a new school entrance, school hall, science lab and kitchen.