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Samuel Ward Academy Trust handed £200,000 for education research in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:01 07 April 2017

The Sybil Andrews Academy in Bury St Edmunds, which opened this year. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The Sybil Andrews Academy in Bury St Edmunds, which opened this year. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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An education trust in west Suffolk has been named the first official Research School in the East of England.

The Samuel Ward Academy Trust teaches around 8,000 students in schools across Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Haverhill and Newmarket.

It has just been handed £200,000 funding from independent charities Education Endowment Foundation and the Institute for Effective Education.

The trust’s chief executive Howard Lay said it was “excellent news for the east of England” as it would allow the trust to raise standards with more innovation.

He said: “For too long, too many educational initiatives have failed to embed because they have not been grounded in research. This has led to educational fads that are unsupported by systematic investigation and analysis. This research grant will enable us to ground practice in theory that works for all young people.”

The trust’s schools include Thomas Gainsborough School, in Sudbury, Newmarket Academy, Sybil Andrews Academy, in Bury, and the Samuel Ward Academy, in Haverhill.

As well as supporting teaching and learning across the trust, the scheme should see the trust share good classroom practice across schools in Suffolk.

Allan Cadzow, service director for children and young people at Suffolk County Council, said: “We are thrilled that Samuel Ward Academy Trust is to be the first research school in Suffolk. The research school will build on the work the authority does with school leaders through our Raising the Bar programme.

“Samuel Ward Academy Trust were recognised for their continued successful outcomes for children in their area and trust schools, together with the collaborative work and support they provide through the School to School Support Partnership.

“The new research school will help us to identify the strategies and innovations which work well in schools in the area and will allow these to be shared with other schools across the county. This new approach will allow us to ultimately improve the quality and standard of education which can be delivered through schools in Suffolk.”

Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said the research schools were “breaking down” barriers so research had a “real impact” on classroom practice.

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