Parents' anger as possible school redundancies loom amid academy transition
- Credit: Archant
Parents of Martins Wood Primary School pupils have expressed concerns over potential redundancies of beloved staff and teachers, as the Stevenage school moves into academy status.
From autumn this year, Ivy Learning Trust will take control of the primary school in Mildmay Road, after the school was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted.
Parents and guardians of children at the school gathered for a meeting last week, where they were told of a consultation to determine the staffing model.
Following the meeting, some expressed their gratitude to the teachers facing redundancy, and concerns that big changes in staffing would negatively impact the children who are already struggling following the lockdown periods.
One said: "All the staff do a fantastic job and none should leave, but there are a few main ones who have been mentioned, and these are staff that kept us parents going through COVID and lockdown and are key members of staff."
Another added: "We were told all the staff would be safe. We accept we have to become an academy, but redundancies will impact every single child.
"Why get rid of such valuable people? Why can you not keep the ones you've got? Our kids are already unsettled from lockdown. If you take their key teachers away from them it'll be worse."
A spokesperson for Martins Wood Primary School said: “When a school is rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, it is required by law to join an academy trust, and Martins Wood School will join Ivy Learning Trust from autumn 2022.
“The Interim Executive Board (IEB) currently overseeing the school has a legal duty to transfer the school to the new academy trust with a balanced budget. This is a challenging task as currently the school’s expenditure is higher than the income it receives.
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“The current outstanding deficit has been covered by Hertfordshire County Council, but we need to reduce costs to put the school in a sustainable financial position for the future. Savings have been made across other areas of the budget, but because staffing costs are the major expenditure item of any school, it is impossible to find the necessary savings without a full review of staffing.
“The IEB have discussed this with the school staff and have listened to their feedback. The staffing model currently being consulted on reflects those conversations and we will try to accommodate any changes suggested during the consultation.
“We have done everything possible to minimise the number of staff affected, and we hope that voluntary redundancies will achieve the cost savings required.
“We know this is a very unsettling time for staff and parents, but are confident that the changes we are making at Martins Wood Primary School will put the school in a strong and sustainable position for the future.”