Jobs to go at two Corby schools after ‘funding review’

Studfall Junior Academy, where a number of staff are set to be made redundant. NNL-190113-215836005
Studfall Junior Academy, where a number of staff are set to be made redundant. NNL-190113-215836005

Support staff at two Corby schools are facing redundancy after bosses announced a review of the staffing structure.

Workers at Studfall Infants and Junior Academies were told by letter of a round of impending redundancies.

Studfall Infant Academy NNL-190113-215914005

Studfall Infant Academy NNL-190113-215914005

Greenwood Academies Trust, which has run the Rowlett Road schools since June last year, declined to reveal how many staff will lose their jobs but, in a letter to workers, said that the jobs were going because ‘of the position the academy finds itself in with regard to funding.’

They are also said to be reviewing the way in which teaching pay points work - which means that teaching staff may be asked to take on extra responsibility for less money.

Now support staff face a tense wait until they discover if they will keep their jobs.

One insider said: “This has caused widespread upset among staff.

Staff at Studfall Infants have been told to expect a series of redundancies. NNL-190113-215957005

Staff at Studfall Infants have been told to expect a series of redundancies. NNL-190113-215957005

“Why they couldn’t tell them face to face today I do not know. It seems like utter cowardice to me.

“They apparently plan to merge the resources of the two schools which seems absolutely insane. They should be providing more resources not less. I’ve never seen staff work harder or longer hours.”

In their letter to staff, long-standing headteachers Louise McGeachie and Kim Kirchin said: “Due to the position the academy finds itself in regards to funding, this review is unfortunately to result in posts being put at risk of redundancy in some areas of support staff and a change to the Teaching and Learning structure among teaching staff (no teaching staff at risk of redundancy).

“It is the academy’s responsibility to review our staffing structures from time to time to ensure they remain relevant to the needs of the academy and within the budgetary restraints.

Studfall Junior Academy support staff are said to be concerned about their jobs. NNL-190113-220044005

Studfall Junior Academy support staff are said to be concerned about their jobs. NNL-190113-220044005

“Therefore the purpose of this review is to examine our current structure and decide whether it will meet our needs in the next five years.”

Staff will be able to find out more information when the consultation officially starts on Thursday (January 17).

The Greenwood Academies Trust runs 34 schools across the East Midlands and has responsibility for the education of 17,000 children.

Its most recent accounts for the school year 2017/18 say that it considers its financial position to be satisfactory.

Across all its schools, the trust spent £83m in total on its staffing in 2017/18 and paid out £876,000 in ‘restructuring’ costs including £653,000 in redundancy payments and £223,000 in severance payments - these are payments given to people who mutually agree to leave the trust without the need, for example, for redundancy or misconduct procedures to be carried out.

This compares to just £171,000 they paid out to staff made jobless in 2016/17.

Headcount across the trust dropped from 1,030 teachers and 1,063 support staff in 2017 to 985 teachers and 963 support staff in 2018 - this is despite the trust adding three new schools to its portfolio. It means the total number of staff at the trust dropped by 245 - from 1,201 in 2017 to 1,956 in 2018.

The number of managers at the trust remained the same at eight - including chief executive Wayne Norrie who was paid around £175,000 plus salary contributions of £30,000 per annum.

A Greenwood Academies trust spokesman said: “There are no plans to merge Studfall Infant and Junior Academy. All Academies in the trust regularly review their staffing structures in order to best meet the needs of the children they serve.”

Last month, we revealed that support staff at another Corby school, Exeter: A Learning Community, were also to be made redundant because of funding problems.