Stevenage school criticised over plans to halve support staff

Marriotts School in Stevenage has been criticised over plans to half support staff numbers

Marriotts School in Stevenage has been criticised over plans to half support staff numbers - Credit: Archant

A school has been criticised over plans to halve its number of support staff for students with learning or behavioural difficulties.

The Comet has seen plans to reduce staff numbers at Marriotts School in Stevenage through restructuring.

The proposed changes will see both learning support, which deals with students with learning difficulties, and student support, which deals with those who have behavioural problems, merged and streamlined into a single department.

A member of staff at the school in Brittain Way, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “We all just find it difficult to see how this is going to benefit the students. What it looks like is cost-cutting measures at the expense of the students and that just doesn’t seem right to us.

“You’re talking about two different sets of kids who require very different kinds of attention. Mixing them could be problematic or, at worst, dangerous.”

Under the scheme, support staff would have to reapply for their jobs by May.

However, the new streamlined roles also come with added responsibilities such as providing emergency cover for lessons, something current staff members are not trained to do.

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Bethany Honnor, headteacher at Marriotts School, said: “Following a review by Ofsted last year, the impact of the non-teaching staff needed to be examined. A restructure has taken place, with the approval of governors, and the school is now in a position to appoint people to the new structure. The school has worked with the local authority throughout the process.

“We appreciate this has been an unsettling time for staff, but our priority is ensuring a good education and learning environment for our students.”

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