Jobs on the line as Suffolk County Council conducts major shake-up of education services

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House - Credit: Archant

Up to 23 jobs could go in a major shake-up of Suffolk County Council’s education services.

But last night council chiefs stressed the number who could go would be between “one and 23” and that “new and innovative” roles would also be created.

Staff are in the middle of a consultation over the proposals which will “streamline” services and join up school and pupil services.

Sandy Martin, Labour’s opposition leader, said the move was part of the council’s “Making Every Intervention Count” programme which he said was making £5million cuts as it radically re-shapes the Children and Young People’s Services department.

He claimed the changes were “not about making services better, it’s just about saving money.”

But a council spokesman defended the plan, which he said would create the “best possible” outcomes for children and families.

“We are working hard to reduce uncertainty for staff, minimise disruption for our service users and achieve stability for services as quickly as possible,” he said.

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“However, we also need to make some changes to the way that we work and deliver services to achieve our aims.

“We want to create opportunities for people to apply for roles that best match their strengths, skills and interests in order to make the greatest contribution to the service going forward.

“Until the consultation is complete and the proposals have been finalised, it is not possible to confirm the nature of the changes.”

In little more than a month 10 schools in Suffolk have announced plans to cut ties with the council in order to become academies which have greater control over how schools are run.

According to the latest figures, 21% of Suffolk schools have a “requires improvement” Ofsted grade, with 5% judged as “inadequate”. Nationally 17% of schools have the requires improvement rating and 2% are inadequate.

The changes proposed at the council include bringing all admissions and school transport staff together to work from Endeavour House, Ipswich and improve services which may be needed for academies which stay open all year.

Graham White, secretary of Suffolk’s National Union of Teachers, said although he agreed with the principle of the proposals a lot of staff were “dissatisfied”.

“There’s a lot of dissatisfaction because there are significant proposals to change pay and conditions,” he said.

“Suffolk County Council say it’s not the case but it’s a fundamental change to pay and conditions and some people will lose their jobs.”

The consultation will end on April 22. With changes coming into effect from September.