New academy in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket celebrates first full term

Back row: Mark Vickers, chief executive of Olive Academies; Philip Whall, chairman of Olive Academies Multi-Academy Trust; Judith Mobbs, assistant director of inclusion and skills at Suffolk County Council; Helen Fortes, headteacher at Olive AP Academy - Suffolk (Central) with pupils and Alfie Nicholas (centre front) holding his winning Christmas card design. Picture: George Rutter Photography.
Back row: Mark Vickers, chief executive of Olive Academies; Philip Whall, chairman of Olive Academies Multi-Academy Trust; Judith Mobbs, assistant director of inclusion and skills at Suffolk County Council; Helen Fortes, headteacher at Olive AP Academy - Suffolk (Central) with pupils and Alfie Nicholas (centre front) holding his winning Christmas card design. Picture: George Rutter Photography.
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An academy which specialises in alternative provision for pupils in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket is celebrating its first full term.

Olive AP Academy - Suffolk (Central) launched in June and supports up to 60 pupils who have complex needs as well as those who have been or are at risk of being permanently excluded from a mainstream school.

To celebrate a successful first full term, a festive party was held on Thursday, December 7.

Headteacher Helen Fortes said: “I’m so proud of how hard our staff and pupils have worked this term.

“We want our new academy to be a place where young people can thrive, learn and achieve their best.

“All pupils need their teachers to believe that today could be the start of changing their tomorrows.

“All of our staff here at the academy are determined to find innovative and exciting ways to re-engage each of our pupils.

“We are ambitious and want the very best education for all local children and young people.”

The academy, previously known as the Kingsfield Centre, currently has 55 pupils on roll with 15 at its site in Brooklands Close, Bury St Edmunds.

The Bury site caters for those in Key Stages 3 and 4, who are referred with complex needs.

Forty pupils, in Key Stages 2 to 4, are taught at the academy’s larger site, in Chilton Way, Stowmarket.

It is part of the Olive Academies multi-academy trust, which was set up in 2013 and was one of the first academy sponsors specialising in alternative provision in England.

It opened its first AP academy in Thurrock, Essex, in 2015 followed by a second in the London borough of Havering in September 2016.

At the Suffolk (Central) academy, there are 24 members of staff including eight teachers.

Asked about the first full term, Mrs Fortes said: “It’s gone very well. We’ve got some great staff in place who are doing a great job with the young people.

“The young people are now in uniform and they wear that with pride.

“There’s some significant progress being made by pupils - academic, social and emotional progress.”

During the celebration event, Mark Vickers, chief executive of Olive Academies, presented a prize to pupil Alfie Nicholas, 12, for his winning Christmas card design which was chosen to become the Olive Academies’ official 2017 Christmas card.

Judith Mobbs, Suffolk County Council’s assistant director of inclusion and skills, also attended the celebration.

She said: “To work with Olive Academies here in Suffolk is fantastic.

“This new academy is part of our journey as a county.

“We need to improve our offer for children who have additional needs.

“We are working hard to change things – so that every child has the right offer of education to give them the right start in life.”