Teaching redundancies may be on the cards at Winsford Academy due to falling pupil numbers.
Its governing body – supported by Fallibroome Multi-Academy Trust which sponsors the Grange Lane secondary school – has opened a 30-day consultation on a proposal to reduce the teaching staff to levels commensurate with current pupil numbers, citing the demographic decline in pupil numbers facing secondary schools and changes to funding formulas as factors.
The number of jobs at risk has not been confirmed but the academy says it is the final phase of an 18-month process of structural reform, which has also seen the decision to temporarily discontinue sixth form education.
In January, it announced the suspension of post-16 provision with full effect from September 2016 due to funding cuts.
Macclesfield-based Fallibroome Multi-Academy Trust took over sponsorship of Winsford Academy in September 2014, after the Department for Education withdrew academy chain E-ACT’s right to sponsor the school.
Peter Rubery, executive principal of Fallibroome Multi-Academy Trust, said: “The budgetary problems created by the transfer from the predecessor schools have been addressed and we are confident of producing record results at GCSE this summer.
“The commitment of the staff and governors and the pride displayed by the Academy’s students has been remarkable during this period of transition and we have no doubt that the Academy is facing a bright future.
“The restructuring process has required the temporary suspension of the sixth form but we are committed to re-establishing a vibrant post-16 provision at the earliest opportunity.
“Winsford students deserve the best and the combination of support from an outstanding National Teaching school and the drive and ambition of a determined staff will create the foundations for a first class Academy.”
Staff were told of the proposal at a meeting on March 2.
A union official told the Chronicle that teachers with certain responsibilities will also have their pay reduced and all teachers will have to spend more time in the classroom.
Kim Jamson, NASUWT national executive committee member for the North-West, said: “The proposed restructure will effect every member of staff and NASUWT calculate that we have numerous members whose jobs are ‘at risk’.
“Our representative at the meeting tells us that all TLR holders will face a reduction in pay – TLRs are management allowances given to teachers who manage departments.
“At the same time all teachers will be teaching an extra period a week.
“NASUWT was concerned that members were not given the opportunity to ask questions in a public forum but were asked to have one-to-one meetings with school leadership team members, which could be seen as a deliberate attempt by the employer to stifle the discussion.
“NASUWT will continue to consult with the employer to find an acceptable way forward.
“NASUWT will also consult with its members with regards to options available to them.”
Winsford Academy came into being in 2010, through the merger of Verdin High School and Woodford Lodge High School.