October 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Fears that teachers are leaving soon-to-close middle schools to find secure jobs elsewhere have been allayed.
Four middle schools in the Stowmarket area will close at the end of next year’s summer term as Suffolk’s progression from three-to-two tier schooling continues.
The county’s National Union of Teachers had said experienced middle school teachers would struggle to find new jobs because of their wages. More junior members of staff were said to be leaving for permanent positions, putting colleagues under pressure.
But now Stowmarket High School’s headteacher, Keith Penn, has said six teachers had been given forward contracts, ready to join in September 2015 – with more potentially to come.
He said: “This has been described as good practice on previous rounds of reorganisation since it provides security for good middle school teachers and means they are unlikely to leave their middle school in its final year since they now have a job to go on to.
“Amongst those appointments are a number of senior posts: head of year, head of department, SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator) reflecting the fact that we value the strengths of colleagues currently working in the middle school system.”
The news brought a welcome response from the union’s secretary, Graham White. But he said there were still an “awful lot of teachers without jobs”.
“I absolutely endorse this, we would not want the middle schools to shut but the decision has been made,” he said.
“The most important thing now is that the teachers who are there get good jobs and ones they want to do, and that they not forced into.
“If Stowmarket High is able to offer a number of posts I would absolutely welcome that and thank them for it. If they are forward contracts then that is really helpful. It is encouraging, my only reservation is to make sure they get enough support for the transition where they could be teaching different age groups.”
The middle schools to close are: Stowmarket, Needham Market, Bacton and Combs. Mr Penn said the teachers coming to his school included from all the middles in the area as well as Beyton.