Ixworth St Mary's models itself on successful Debenham High
|Mike Crawshaw former Debenham Head led the|
school to three "Outstanding" Ofsted judgements
Former Head of Debenham High School Mike Crawshaw is one of the leaders of the bid and would play a leading role in the development of the school.
The curriculum development would be led by Mike Crawshaw who recently retired as Head of Debenham Church of England High School after leading it to three outstanding Ofsted judgements. Ofsted described his leadership as "inspirational".This really is a major advantage for the Diocese. Debenham is a truly outstanding school with excellent academic results but also a completely inclusive school for the whole community. Mike Crawshaw is someone who commands respect and has a solid track record.
I also think Thurston is a great school but it is not the same as Debenham and parents would really get a choice with the two schools in the area.
In fact what the St Mary’s bid would offer would seem to me to tick every single box on the list of things the original "Ixworth and Stanton Free School" parent groups said they wanted to deliver. Small, academic focus, strong pastoral care and extra-curricular activities.
Indeed the parent group actually said in their initial leaflet that they wanted to model the school on "best practice in the highest performing secondary schools in Suffolk" (Original emphasis). I understand that Debenham High was even mentioned at the time.
But as well as the influence from Debenham there is also a local focus from working with local Thurston schools building strong links with the Primary schools where children will come from and with Thurston Community College to collaborate on transport and even curriculum issues;
Pupils in years 9-11 would build on the core subjects by choosing from a range of optional enrichment subjects. We would do our best to make this choice a broad one by working with Thurston Community College to allow access to some of its vocational courses where these were in the best interests of the student.Once again the Seckford Ixworth Free School website shows that the proposal for Ixworth is a chain school identical to Beccles and Saxmundham.
It seems unfortunate that the form to register interest is actually called “Beccles v2”:
Given that Beccles has become something of a byword for failed free schools this does look another clumsy mistake.
But that is really the choice for parents in Thurston area. Do they want "Beccles v2" or a school like Debenham High. Personally I think this is a no-brainer. Debenham’s track record speaks for itself.
You can see the new Ixworth St Mary's High School website which has an FAQ page
The Seckford bid have their Ixworth Free School website which has an FAQ page