Redundancy blow for staff at Haverhill school

The entrance to Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill
The entrance to Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill

Almost 17 staff, including seven full-time teachers, face redundancy at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill.

Staff at the school are due to meet with management tomorrow afternoon as part of a consultation process that will end on January 19.

Samuel Ward Academy head teacher, Mark Neild

Samuel Ward Academy head teacher, Mark Neild

A letter to staff said the school had to ‘reduce staffing costs by a substantial amount within the current academic year in order to achieve a balanced budget which will be sustainable’.

The letter added that ‘if no action is taken the academy’s budget position will result in it not being able to pay staff’.

The school currently has a £1.6 million budget deficit.

In all, it is proposed to cut 7.04 FTE (full time equivalent) teaching posts and 9.5 FTE support staff posts, the latter of which will affect mini-bus drivers, caretakers, an office manager, careers guidance, reprographics, inclusion officers, inclusion officer support and learning support/personal support/teaching assistants.

The school’s headteacher, Mark Neild, said: “In the last few years, the trust has provided increased funds to Samuel Ward Academy to support its growth through increased pupil numbers.

“Due to increased pressures on funding, this has now become unsustainable.

“Samuel Ward Academy is no longer increasing the size of year groups coming into the school and is instead aiming to have a steady eight forms of entry going 
forward.

“As with many schools and academy trusts, it is a challenging financial climate and very difficult decisions need to be made.

“We have begun discussions with staff and trade unions and we will work with the affected staff to look at all the alternative options, including any potential opportunities within Samuel Ward Academy Trust.

“We want to reassure parents and students of Samuel Ward Academy that this decision won’t affect the standard of education they are receiving.

“We are having to make tough decisions, but we are prioritising more money being spent on resources in the classroom and a broad and rounded academic curriculum, which includes a commitment to music and the arts and a full range of GCSE options, while giving students the same level of support that they have always been used to.

“These decisions have not been taken to provide money or additional resources to other schools within the Trust.

“It also does not have an impact on any other schools joining the Trust in the near future.

“The central Trust team will also be affected and we are proposing making redundancies and ending most existing consultancy contracts.

“This is a time of uncertainty for our staff and we are committed to supporting them through this period, and working closely with their trade union representatives.

“We will keep parents informed of the outcomes of staffing changes, most of which will take place at Easter.”

Dr Tim Coulson, chief executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, added: “This year even with the job cuts we are doing we are still going to be subsidising Samuel Ward school by £350,000.

“Our aim is that by the time we get to next year the school can be able to live within its means.

“The adjustment is going to be painful but we are really confident the school will still be a great school.”