School redundancies to hit Comet country

SCHOOLS and colleges in Comet country will be hit “considerably” by redundancies this year, with one institution alone set to lose 30 jobs.

The cuts mean that a number of teachers, back office workers, administrators and sports partnership staff will lose their jobs.

It’s not yet known which schools will be affected and how many redundancies there will be, but the picture should become clearer after half term.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers union (ATL) said that North Hertfordshire and Stevenage would be affected and around 10 per cent of schools across the county would have to make redundancies.

Hertfordshire secretary Aneurin Hathway said: “This affects school across the county - no one area is exempt. The first redundancies will take effect at the end of the academic year, with another batch for December being consulted on now.

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“It means that a great number of people whose services are very valued in schools are losing their jobs. We are very worried about that.”

The cuts come as North Hertfordshire College confirmed that it will lose around 30 of its teaching and general staff posts this summer, and will also discontinue some of its courses.

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Fintan Donohue, principal at the college said: “The college regrets this very much but had to recognise that the overall reductions in its funding requires readjustment of its curriculum offer and some reduction in overall costs of delivery.

“We are confident that we can sustain high quality provision and indeed we are simultaneously expanding our wider support services to students seeking employment while learning at college.

“The college does not expect to see significant reduction in the places available for those students who want to have a great experience at North Hertfordshire College.”

Baldock’s Knights Templar School, which became an academy in April, will not be affected by redundancies.

Headteacher Andrew Pickering said: “There are a significant number of redundancies in the education sector.

“I think that’s regrettable and think it will have an effect on the quality of services receives.”

Letchworth GC’s Fearnhill School’s headteacher Jed Whelan said: “Just like the county council is facing quite substantial pressures in terms of funding, schools across the country are finding the same.

“Lots of things have to be taken into consideration. It’s not surprising that schools across the county find themselves in this situation.”

Janet Beacom, headteacher at Barclay School in Stevenage said that although the school was not planning redundancies, there had been a reduction in staff through other means. She added that she “didn’t believe this had an impact on the quality of teaching children receive”.

Hitchin councillor Judi Billing said that she was unaware of the redundancies, and labelled the proposals as “dreadful”.

“It can’t be right and it’s not reasonable or sustainable. It goes too far when cuts start attacking school teachers and children,” said Cllr Billing.

“You would expect the county council to discuss it locally, as we have a right to know and a responsibility.”

A spokesman from Hertfordshire County Council said: “There are processes in place for redundancies at the moment.

“Hertfordshire’s schools and the council are doing everything possible to mitigate and limit the impact of these through retirement and redeployment to other schools as part of the natural turnover of teaching staff.”

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