Students and teachers at SET Ixworth School, part of the Seckford Education Trust, are celebrating after achieving a ‘Good’ judgement from Ofsted in all areas. Following an inspection on 17 and 18 September, Ofsted inspectors gave high praise to the School’s inclusive environment, strong teaching, wide-ranging extra-curricular activities, and for successfully providing students with ‘a foundation for life’.
Ofsted inspectors described the School as a ‘very happy community’ where ‘pupils arrive promptly because they enjoy school’, and parents and carers are pleased with their school choice. ‘School leaders want every pupil to do well’, and to leave as ‘confident’ young adults who are ‘well prepared’ for their next step in education, employment or training.
SET Ixworth School, last inspected in 2017, has made ‘huge improvements’ with ‘strong’ teaching that inspires pupils to think and ‘learn rapidly’, and students achieving well at GCSE in a wide range of subjects. Inspectors also highlighted the school’s range of extra-curricular activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, learning British Sign Language, or preparing for a school drama production, where pupils are encouraged to discover new interests beyond academic subjects.
As a small school environment, ‘pupils and teachers all know each other very well’; ‘bullying is rare’ and ‘pupils feel safe’ with everyone working together to support and care for each other.
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at SET Ixworth School, said: “We are very proud that the Ofsted team found our School to be Good in all areas. This is vindication of the incredible hard work and professionalism of all the staff, the hard work and behaviour of our students and the support of our parents and carers. We have high aspirations for our students and we’re committed to providing a safe, challenging and nurturing environment where each and every student can learn and thrive.”
As part of their inspection, Ofsted inspectors spoke with the Headteacher and senior leadership team as well as teachers, parents, carers and students. Ofsted inspected four key areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management – all of which were rated Good at SET Ixworth School.
SET Ixworth School, on Walsham Road in Ixworth, opened in 2014 as part of the Seckford Education Trust, which also includes Beccles and Saxmundham Schools.
For more information about SET Ixworth School, visit www.ixworthschool.org.uk.Read More
A Tudor historian has completed a historic walk, following in the footsteps of an important local Elizabethan lawyer, Thomas Seckford.
Dr Eva Griffith is a Shakespearean theatre historian who undertook a sponsored walk on Friday 20 September, from Ipswich Museum on the High Street in Ipswich to the Seckford Almshouses in Woodbridge.
She has made this walk as the culmination of a research and walking tour across Europe, visiting towns and cities where English actors of Shakespeare’s time are recorded performing. She has visited Paris, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Utrecht, Frankfurt and more.
She has also been undertaking extensive research of the Seckford Collection, housed in Suffolk Records Office.
Thomas Seckford served in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and he was also a Member of Parliament for Ipswich. His charitable works benefited the townspeople of Woodbridge, his ancestral home.
The home leg of Dr Griffith’s walk took her from the site of Thomas Seckford’s former Ipswich home, all the way to Woodbridge, arriving at the Seckford Almshouses – the charity that Thomas Seckford set up. The residents welcomed her arrival with a tea party and festivities.
Eva has been walking in aid of Classic FM’s ‘Make Some Noise’ charity as part of their Big Walk. Donations are invited here: https://makesomenoise.charitycheckout.co.uk/pf/eva-griffith-eurowalk
Melanie Chew, Development Director at the Seckford Foundation said “We have been delighted to work with and welcome Dr Griffith to Woodbridge. We have been thrilled to learn from her about the early days of Thomas Seckford’s land in Tudor times. Eva’s walk has been amazing, and we are proud to welcome her home to Thomas Seckford’s greatest work – his Almshouses!”Read More
Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir along with Saxmundham Free School, St Mary’s Primary & Barnabas Pre-School held a wonderful Concert at the Methodist Church in Woodbridge on Wednesday 26th June, which was thoroughly enjoyed by an audience of all ages.
Featuring residents, relatives, friends and staff of Seckford Almshouses, Jubilee House, Woodbridge Lodge and Grove Court Care Homes, the choir joined forces with students from Saxmundham Free School, St Mary’s Primary & Barnabas Pre-School in this lovely concert that was open to all the community. All of the choirs worked well together and complemented each other perfectly. The singers’ ages ranged from 2 to 99.
The audience was treated to a selection of favourites with songs such as Cheek to Cheek, L-O-V-E, The Sound of Silence, Make you feel my love, Que sera, sera, Country Road, Who wants to be a Millionaire, with a finale of Sing. And of course the audience joined in too!
The Combined Care Homes Choir is funded by Comic Relief and was launched in February 2018. The choir offers care home residents, their families and staff the chance to participate in and enjoy a shared interest and the opportunity to sing, to perform, as well as to meet people from other care settings, who may be experiencing situations similar to their own.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “We are proud to work in collaboration with Grove Court and Woodbridge Lodge, for the Care Homes Choir. The Choir has given residents of care homes around Woodbridge the opportunity to indulge their interest in singing in an open and friendly setting with other likeminded people. To have the opportunity to sing alongside other choirs and perform in public has been very enjoyable for all involved.”Read More
Residents of Seckford Care and members of the public were treated to a delightful summer’s evening concert by Illuminati, a talented local choir, on Saturday 8th June.
The evening concert was held in the Victorian Seckford Chapel, which sits at the centre of the historic Almshouse building. The repertoire was varied including works by Tallis, Gibbons, Jenkins some madrigals, and even included an amusing Highway Code set as a Gregorian Chant! Each piece was introduced by a choir member which added to the listeners enjoyment. We learnt that one of the pieces was composed in 1547 by a fellow courtier of Thomas Seckford!
The concert was in two parts and well attended. Guests enjoyed some light refreshments, served in the cloisters. The event was help as a fundraiser for the refurbishment of the Chapel and almost £150 was raised towards our cause.Read More
Monday 20 – Sunday 26 May is Dementia Action Week – a week that unites individuals, workplaces and the wider community to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia. During this week there will be a range of events and activities in Woodbridge to raise awareness of and provide information on dementia and the support available organised by Woodbridge Dementia project.
Woodbridge Dementia Project was launched in 2018 by the Seckford foundation working in partnership with organisations in and around Woodbridge with the aim of making Woodbridge a dementia friendly town.
The Project will run a series of free one hour Dementia Friends sessions for local businesses and community groups on Wednesday 22 May at the Fabric shop in Gobbits Yard. For more information contact COBrien@seckford-foundation.org.uk or simply turn up between 10.00am – 4.00pm. There will also be information stands around Woodbridge throughout the week, providing information on their work and how to be involved.
One Woodbridge business supporting the initiative in Dementia Action Week is The Cherry Tree pub which is hosting a fundraising night on Tuesday 21 May, offering fish and chip suppers (vegetarian option available) for £10 per meal with all proceeds donated to the Woodbridge Dementia Project.
The week of activity will be brought to a close by Music for Dementia at the Longshed on Friday 24 May from 2.00 – 5.00pm. The afternoon will include performances by POP choir and Farlingaye High School’s String Quartet. Refreshments including afternoon tea will be available, as well rides on the Woodbridge Memory Bike. There will be the opportunity to find out more about Woodbridge Dementia Project and information on services and support.
Dementia Champion and Deputy Head of Care at Seckford Care Cathy O’Brien said: “Every three minutes, someone in the UK develops dementia. This means almost all of us knows someone affected by dementia – a family member, customer or member of staff – and it doesn’t just affect older people. But too many people living with dementia report feeling cut off from their community, losing their friendships and facing the disease alone.
Dementia Action Week is a fantastic opportunity for the Woodbridge Dementia Project to widen its reach within the community and celebrate the achievements of our work so far. Through these events we hope to engage even more people in Woodbridge with our work.”
Former Woodbridge School pupils have stepped back in time for a special reunion at the school decades after leaving.
The 80 alumni, known as Old Woodbridgians, travelled far and wide to return to their secondary school for the memorable event.
Among the former students in attendance was 83-year-old Major Nigel Lewis OBE who arrived on a helicopter.
Many of the Old Woodbridgians were returning to the school for the first time since leaving between the 1930s and 1970s. Jack Seagers, aged 101, was the oldest pupil at the reunion, having left the school in 1934.
The group enjoyed reminiscing of days gone by during a tour of the school’s new and original buildings and modern facilities, as well as marvelling at the modern ‘home comforts’ in the boarding house where many of the former pupils had lived over the years.
The Old Woodbridgians enjoyed lunch at the school and a talk on the history of the school’s Combined Cadet Force, given by local cultural historian and former Woodbridge School English teacher, Mark Mitchels.
The school’s chamber orchestra also played a special rendition of the original school song which the former pupils enjoyed singing along to.
Melanie Chew, development director at the Seckford Foundation, organised the reunion for the Old Woodbridgians.
Ms Chew said: “We were thrilled to have such a terrific response to this special event and we loved hearing the fond school memories of our alumni.
“The history of the school is so important to us, so it was fantastic to capture these memories and hear stories of our school from years gone by.”Read More
The new brand was launched at Woodbridge On Show II on Saturday 6 April, with local community groups and residents introduced to the brand by Head of Care Sarah Kopferschmitt. The stand featured artefacts from the Seckford Care archives reflecting the deep history of the organisation including pharmacy records from 1862.
Seckford Care encompasses the delivery of care, support and/or accommodation to older people, whether this is independent living within the Seckford Almshouses, Residential Care in Jubilee House, Extra Sheltered Care at The Terrace, as well as the Seckford Day Club and services we deliver to members of the wider community.
Head of Care Sarah Kopferschmitt said: “It was a pleasure to launch Seckford Care at Woodbridge On Show II and share our wonderful work with the community organisations of Woodbridge.”
The new logo imagery is taken from the Seckford Coat of Arms with each meaning taken into consideration. The black dot salt & pepper pots are called ‘ermines’ and associated with royalty and nobility, however the other key message for Seckford Care, is that they also symbolise dignity – which is a hugely important value, promoted by the service.
The shells are called ‘escallops’ and these are associated with travel and pilgrimages. These featured on Thomas Seckford’s original coat of arms. Woodbridge town has incorporated them in recognition of his origins and support of the town.
The Tudor Rose implies the historic roots of the organisation and highlights the length of the tradition at Seckford Care, which harks back to the original almshouses that Thomas Seckford provided back in 1587.Read More
Representatives of Seckford Education Trust and Ixworth Free School officially opened the School’s new all-weather sports court on Friday 5 April.
The facility will expand upon the School’s sporting offer and cement the School as a central hub for community-based sport and recreational activity in the village, with the facility open for use by community groups and local primary schools.
Headteacher of Ixworth Free School Mark Barrow said: “I am pleased to have opened this wonderful new facility that will enhance sporting options for our students and local groups.
“It was fantastic to welcome members of the local community to see the court and to thank Garfield Weston Foundation whose grant made this possible.”
Mr Barrow unveiled a plaque acknowledging the support provided by the Garfield Weston Foundation through a £65,000 from their 60th Anniversary Fund.Read More
Saxmundham Free School was one of two schools that shared the top honours in this year’s Dora Love Prize – an annual competition which aims to make sure the dreadful atrocities suffered by millions because of genocide and persecution are never forgotten, and that students develop a sense of personal responsibility for the world we live in today.
Saxmundham Free School in Suffolk and Colchester Royal Grammar in Essex were joint winners and were presented with their prize – £250 for each school – by Holocaust survivor, and competition Patron, Frank Bright.
For their entry, students from Saxmundham Free School designed a board game which could be played in two ways, contrasting the journey of a modern day refugee to the UK with that of someone from the Kindertransport in 1938. The students used the game to help deliver sessions about refugees on the theme ‘Torn Form Home’ when visiting primary schools. The board game has been seen by the National Migration Museum in London and will form part of their exhibition and will be used with groups of visiting schools.
Saxmundham Free School also developed a website and used Instragram to spread the message about the importance of tolerance in today’s society. The entry from Saxmundham Free School contained a song inspired by the experiences of children taken on the Kindertransport, pieces of art and a poem that was performed along with the song in the final of the event at the University of Essex.
Dora Love, who lived in Colchester until her death in 2011, was a Jewish Holocaust survivor who spent much of her life raising awareness of the dangers of intolerance and discrimination.
The Dora Love Prize, set up in 2012 by Emeritus Professor of history Rainer Schulze, continues her work and is awarded each year to the best school project that links learning about the Holocaust with the world we live in today. It is open to schools in Essex and Suffolk.
Professor Schulze said: “All projects submitted to the Dora Love Prize were of such a high standard that our panel of judges found it really difficult to decide on a winner. In my view, all projects are winners: all schools shared their projects in their school assemblies, with local primary schools and other groups in their community – doing exactly what the Dora Love Prize is about: standing up against discrimination and hatred, speaking out and working for a world where everyone is accepted and respected as a fellow human being.”
This year’s competition attracted entries from schools across East Anglia – with many of the high schools working with their feeder primary schools on projects to remember the Holocaust and involve more students.
Frank has been Patron of the competition since it was set up and has given talks to pupils about his life and warn of the dangers of discrimination and hatred which persist in today’s society. As a young boy Frank (now 90) was sent to Auschwitz, where both of his parents were killed in the gas chambers, leaving him an orphan. He came to Britain after his liberation, and he featured in the BBC 2 documentary The Last Survivors, screened on Holocaust Memorial Day – Sunday 27 January.Read More
The Seckford Education Trust is the only multi-academy trust (MAT) in Suffolk – and one of only two in the East of England – to have been ranked as one of the country’s best-performing MATs for GCSE results, new figures show.
The best- and worst-performing MATs across England have been revealed in the Department for Education’s (DfE) 2018 MAT performance tables, which ranks chains based on their Progress 8 scores and other metrics recorded in last year’s GCSEs.
The Seckford Education Trust, which runs Beccles Free School, Ixworth Free School and Saxmundham Free School, was the only Suffolk-based MAT ranked in the ‘Above Average’ category, with a Progress 8 score of 0.23 – meaning students exceeded their potential and predicted GCSE grades. The Suffolk average was 0.08 and the England state-funded average was -0.02.
Seckford Education Trust was ranked the 13th best in the ‘Above Average’ category – and 16th overall out of 85 MATs nationally. Cambridge-based The Cam Academy Trust (0.46) was the only other East of England representative in the category.
James Wellesley-Wesley, Chair of Seckford Education Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the hard work of our fantastic students, parents and staff have been recognised by another strong set of results, which demonstrate the added value that we promise to provide to all our young people.
“Being ranked as one of England’s top 20 performing MATs for GCSE results is testament to the Trust’s expert teaching and belief in every student, as well as our partnership with parents and the wider communities which we serve.
“We are committed to ensuring all our students enjoy a rich, stimulating and friendly environment at our schools and progress to the next stage of their lives full of confidence and with an all-round education.”
The 2018 MAT performance tables ranks MATs which have at least three schools which have been with them for at least three years.
To find out more about the Seckford Education Trust, visit https://www.sffst.org.uk.Read More