84.1 The Principal, Mr Winn, explained that 40% of Murrayfield Primary Academy’s pupils came from a disadvantaged background, with around a third of pupils having English as a second or additional language. Mr Winn explained that the Paradigm Trust now ran the school and that the trust’s purpose was to invest in young people’s education, improve schools and give children every opportunity they could. Mr Winn noted that investment was being made in the fabric of the school, with £300,000 being spent on a new roof for one of the buildings. Mr Winn also explained that the school ran a swimming pool, which three other local schools made use of.
84.2 Mr Winn explained that staff and pupils were working hard to improve outcomes and that in 2017-18 50% of pupils had made expected progress in Reading, Writing and Maths whereas in 2015-16, before the school had become an academy, only 16% of pupils had made this level of progress.
84.3 Mr Winn listed a few highlights, noting particularly:
- An opportunity pupils had had to perform at Snape Maltings;
- The Take 5 Challenge which focussed on improving pupils’ wellbeing;
- The establishment of a School Council to give pupils a voice.
84.4 Councillor Connelly asked how the Academy engaged with parents. Mr Winn explained that the Academy Council included parents which allowed them to contribute to the school’s governance. There was also an active friends group who put on activities over the year. Mr Winn explained that the school now sent out paper copies of letters as there were more likely to be read by parents.
84.5 A local resident asked how far pupils travelled to get to the school. Mr Winn explained that some pupils travelled from over two miles away, generally because the school often had spaces available. Mr Winn commented that as the school’s reputation improved the distance travelled by pupils was likely to fall.
84.6 A resident commented that they were very impressed with the changes at the school since they had attended.
84.7 A resident asked whether cooking could be taught at the school. Mr Winn explained that the school did not have appropriate facilities for teaching cooking, but that PSHE lessons included teaching on food and healthy eating. Some pupils were also able to use Ipswich Academy’s food technology suite. Mr Winn noted that at a recent food tasting event as part of the award of a new catering contract pupils had asked pertinent questions about food waste, food miles and fresh cooking. Mr Winn also explained that the school ran a breakfast club which was partially subsidised by the school.
84.8 A resident asked what support was given to pupils who had English as a second or additional language. Mr Winn explained that the school employed specialist staff to assist these pupils and that small group sessions were held to support them. The school’s aim was to get children speaking English as soon as possible in order that they could fully integrate into mainstream classes.