Bury St Edmunds: Staff at threatened school fear job cuts
SHOCKED staff at a Suffolk middle school earmarked for closure face an anxious New Year awaiting job cuts, it has been claimed.
Education chiefs at the East Anglia Diocesan Schools Service announced plans last month to axe St Louis Middle School in Bury St Edmunds.
Martin Goold, a spokesman for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said teachers at the school feared redundancies.
“Many of them feel very anxious about it,” he said.
“We are looking at a very large number of potential redundancies.
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“For the younger staff who won’t get jobs, this is disastrous.”
Mr Goold, assistant secretary for the Suffolk County Division of the NUT, also claimed teachers at the school, which was rated outstanding by Ofsted earlier this year, only discovered news of the closure at the same time as parents.
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“The teachers were deeply shocked at the news,” he said. “They found out more or less from the letters that went out to parents.
“They had no advance warning.”
In a letter sent to parents in November, Rev Roger Sparks, chairman of the Diocesan Schools’ Service, said St Louis Middle would close in 2013 to bring Bury in line with the Catholic two-tier system.
Under the new proposals, St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury will become an 11-18 school and the town’s St Edmunds school will become a primary for children aged four to 11 years old.
In a letter to Rev Sparks this week, Mr Goold requested a meeting with decision-makers at the diocese who announced the news without any prior discussion with recognised unions, he claimed.
Parents have rallied to fight the closure of the popular school, throwing their weight behind the East Anglian Daily Times’ campaign to Save St Louis.
“We also gratefully acknowledge the past and present parental support for the school and, in particular, parents’ concern for staff,” Mr Goold wrote. “It is clear to us the local community does not agree with the Diocesan Schools Service over the decision.”
Father Mark Hackeson, a spokesman for the diocese, said parents would be given more information in January.
“They are looking at sending out a letter to parents at the beginning of next term which sets out, briefly, how the decision was arrived at and various other things,” he said.
“It also sets out the details for the formal consultation process.”