Teaching jobs to go at Suffolk school

UP to six teaching jobs could be axed at a Suffolk school due to falling pupil numbers, a headteacher has warned.Plans are under way to reduce the number of teachers at Great Cornard Upper School and Technology College before the start of the next school year.

UP to six teaching jobs could be axed at a Suffolk school due to falling pupil numbers, a headteacher has warned.

Plans are under way to reduce the number of teachers at Great Cornard Upper School and Technology College before the start of the next school year.

Headteacher Mike Foley admitted the situation has caused concern amongst teaching staff worried about their futures, but he insisted any redundancies would not be part of a cost-cutting exercise.

He added that any cuts would not affect pupils' education, class sizes or the operational running of the school.


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In the past 12 months, pupil numbers at the school have fallen from more than 850 to 817, while the total of new children enrolling has dropped from 230 to 200.

There are currently around 60 teachers at the school, but Mr Foley said that figure may have to be reduced to around 54 to reflect the new student-teacher ratio.

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"Inevitably the situation has caused some concern amongst the staff," he said.

"Some teachers are concerned about the future because at the moment we do not know exactly how many posts will be lost or who they will be."

Mr Foley said any teacher cuts would not save money as the annual budget the school receives from the local education authority (LEA) is based on teacher and pupil numbers and would be reflected accordingly.

Parents of pupils at the school have now been made aware of the situation through letters sent out, but Mr Foley insists they should have no cause for concern over the standard of education their children will receive.

"The situation is we have larger year 11 groups going out of the school than we have of 13-year-olds coming in - and that is why we are having to look at teacher numbers," he said.

"Obviously if there are less pupils, we need less teachers. For example, previously we may have needed five history teachers to cater for the number of pupils, but now we may need only four. There will be absolutely no change in the operational running of the school."

Mr Foley added: "There have been no major developments in Great Cornard since the 1980s, which has affected the number of pupils coming here.

"Also there are less school-age people in the villages, such as Lavenham, which fall within our catchment area.

"This means we have to look at sensible planning, just as we do every single year."

The exact number of teachers that will be axed from the school should be known between April and May, and any redundancies will take place for the start of the next school year in September.

Martin Goold, Suffolk county secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said he was aware of the situation at the school but added that it would be inappropriate to comment until official notification had been given.

He said: "The round of redundancies usually takes place in confidence between the staff, unions and LEA.

"As far as I know, the general situation with the number of redundancies in Suffolk is not going to be any different from previous years, but that remains to be seen."

He said if redundancies were going to be made a notice of the proposal has to be issued. The union would then be able to make representations to the authority.

It could point out any concerns about class sizes, the workload of remaining staff and the school's ability to deliver the curriculum to children.

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