An academy chain with schools in Yorkshire and Humberside has announced today (Thursday) that as many as 40 support staff could face redundancy over plans to cut budgets.
The David Ross Education Trust launched a consultation exercise earlier today over proposals to cut nearly £1m in funding from its 32 primary and secondary schools.
The Trust has already increased the amount it charges schools to provide services such as payroll and human resources to £3.4m (up from £2m the previous year), say the unions representing school support staff – the GMB, Unite and UNISON.
The Trust is also planning to spend nearly £800,000 next year on its central teams, as it cuts jobs and budgets in schools, say the three unions.
The cuts will affect a number of different roles including caretakers, receptionists and office staff, some of whom may be forced to take a pay cut, according to the unions.
UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside schools lead Rachel Hodson
said: "Every single member of staff in our schools help to support students to get the most out of their time in education. This Trust wants to reduce on site staff, which will have a negative impact on pupils.
"Taking money from schools in favour of creating big central management hubs that are long distances away is bad for staff, parents and pupils."
Rachelle Wilkins, GMB lead officer for DRET
, said: ''What some academy trusts fail to realise is the huge amount of work our support staff – the unsung heroes of our school system – do to support pupils and get the job done.
"All of these roles – from financial officer to caretaker – provide so much more than their job description suggests. They are truly education’s forgotten army, they know the children by name, help to nurture them and are part of the safe school family that allows a child to learn and grow.
"Strip these roles away, and teaching assistants will be coming out of the classrooms to fill in the gaps left by the loss of these valuable staff. Whichever way you look at this – it's children who will suffer."
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer
said: “The decision taken by DRET to pursue its flawed financial strategy at the expense of school support staff is unacceptable. Charging more for shared services will severely impact on local budgets and the quality of classroom education.”
Notes to editors:
– The jobs at risk include caretakers, administrators, receptionists, secretarial, business management, finance, human resources and data management jobs.
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