Ormiston Academies Trust welcomes its first special school Thomas Wolsey to the family

Thomas Wolsey School, in Ipswich, has today (1 February) joined leading academy sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), becoming Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy. The transfer has received widespread support from staff, students, parents and the local community.


The school, rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, will be the first special school to join OAT, and will work with the network to shape and further improve outcomes for its students. The academy, which provides high-quality education provision to children and young people (ages 3-16) with physical and/or sensory needs, as well complex medical and learning needs, will benefit from the full support of the Trust.

With access to OAT’s wide range of resources, services and expertise, teachers and leaders at the Academy will have the unique opportunity to share and exchange best practice with the other academies across the tight-knit network.

Retaining its own unique identity, the Academy will continue to build on its positive community links, as well as work in collaboration with the Trust. Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy will maintain its funding from the government, but benefit from greater autonomy and Trust-wide collaboration supporting them on many things including procuring services and funding for future projects. There are no plans to change the duration or schedule of the school day, nor the school uniform at this stage.

For many years, OAT has successfully raised academic standards amongst its 34 primary and secondary academies, and last year achieved strong results across the network, in SATs, GCSEs and A Levels. The academies are clustered into hubs within the North, West, East and South regions. Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy will join the 10 academies in the East regional hub, including the Good rated Ormiston Endeavour Academy, with which the Academy is already collocated. OAT shares the academy’s ethos of ‘Achieving Together,’ working in partnership with parents, families, therapist and other professions to ensure all students experience exciting, fun and challenging learning activities to fulfil their potential.

Helen MacDougall, Headteacher at Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy, said:

"At Thomas Wolsey Academy, we follow a Person Centred Approach which means that every young person’s learning journey is adapted to their individual needs. We will continue with the wonderful work we have been doing but look forward to being part of the OAT family and the many opportunities and benefits it will bring to our young people and staff in being a part of a sizeable Trust."

Nick Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Ormiston Academies Trust said:

"We are thrilled to be welcoming Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy to the Ormiston Academies Trust family network. The Academy has a strong reputation for the high-quality provision it provides to children and young people across Suffolk. Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy is an excellent addition to our network and as the Trust’s first special school, will bring a wealth of information and expertise on special educational needs, which will be shared and shaped across OAT.

"We are committed to ensuring that every young person has the opportunity to reach their full potential no matter that their barriers, and we look forward to working closely with Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy to ensure it continues to achieve this."

Sue Chesworth, Chair of the Governing Body, said:

"We are delighted to have joined the Ormiston Academies Trust network today, as our academy continues on its journey to provide the very best education provision for our students. We chose OAT, as it was clear we share the same ethos in wanting to continue as a successful, caring school with a strong commitment to excellence and opportunities for its young people staff and community."