Now Kettering schools also face cutting hours and axing staff as academy chain feels the pinch

Kettering Science Academy
Kettering Science Academy

More schools in the Brooke Weston chain are proposing redundancies or shorter school days after they said that national finding issues had left them with no choice but to make cutbacks.

The Northants Telegraph revealed this morning that Corby Business Academy had asked parents and staff for their views on cutting the school day by half an hour amid funding pressures.

Compass Primary opened in 2016. Pictured at the opening are headteacher Jo Fallowell, Phil Harris-Bridge and the Mayor.

Compass Primary opened in 2016. Pictured at the opening are headteacher Jo Fallowell, Phil Harris-Bridge and the Mayor.

Now it has emerged that at Kettering Science Academy, in Deeble Road, parents and staff have been consulted over similar changes to their children’s school day.

A number of staff at Compass Academy in Windmill Avenue are also in consultation over a series of redundancies.

And at Beanfield Primary School in Corby there is a similar situation.

All the schools are part of the sought-after Brooke Weston chain, which opened its first eponymous school in Corby in 1991 - one of the very first tranche of Technology Colleges, a forerunner to the academy system brought in during the 2000s.

Kettering Science Academy told parents of its plans to shorten the days last week ahead of the half term break. It is proposing to cut the school day by 20 minutes, a move which is says will improve things for staff and children. No redundancies are planned at KSA,

At Compass Primary Academy, to avoid running shortened days and making teachers redundant, it is proposed that a significant number of educational support staff will lose their jobs. It is believed that the number of teaching assistants will be cut from ten to five and that two administrative assistants will be made redundant as well as two welfare support assistants.

One Kettering Science Academy parent said that they had ‘serious worries’ over the plan.

He added: “I know that there is less money to go around but it’s the pupils that will suffer.

”Lots of parents have set up their day to work around school hours and now they’re changing it will cause a problem for us.

”I feel sorry for the teachers. They’ve still got to get them through their GCSEs with less teaching time.”

Parents were told that the school is facing external funding pressures including increased teacher pension contributions.

Earlier this year it was announced that KSA would be given an extra £8m in funding to build an extension to take on 300 more pupils.

Recent analysis by the respected independent research organisation the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that total school spending per pupil fell by eight per cent in real terms between 2009/10 and 2017/18.

Additionally, the Government has ordered schools to increase teacher pension contributions by 40 per cent from September. The DfE says it will fund this for the first year, but future funding is uncertain and it is likely that schools will have to eventually meet the cost from their own budgets.

Many schools across the country have started running shortened days because it allows them to cut back on support staff and teaching assistants without making teachers redundant. It also saves on lighting and heating bills.

A Brooke Weston statement released tonight (Tuesday, May 28, 7.15pm) said “Brooke Weston Trust is currently consulting on a curriculum review in two of its secondary schools.

”The focus is on improving our out of class opportunities for students at the end of the teaching day from Mondays to Thursdays. Whilst the review does include looking at finance, it is mostly about making a wider offer to students and protecting the wellbeing of our staff.

We are also looking at a limited restructure of some support staff roles in our primary schools and this consultation is also underway. The Trust is proud of its track record of responsible financial management and we continue to operate prudently.”

Kettering Science Academy

Kettering Science Academy was taken over by the Brooke Weston Trust in 2009.

Its last three Ofsted inspections have said that the school requires improvement, partly due to poor teaching and bad behaviour by pupils.

But it’s Progress8 Score score jumped from below floor in 2017 (-0.53) to the national average, -0.14, last year. The school is predicting further improvement this year.

The academy has 1,092 pupils on roll.

Last year the school had a budget deficit of £543,000 because of targeted investment to improve standards.

Compass Primary Academy

Compass joined the Brooke Weston Trust in 2013 and split from Kettering Science Academy in 2016 to be run separately.

it has not yet had a visit from Ofsted.

Last year it had a budget deficit of £187,000 because of investment it made in its nursery provision.