More staff changes at troubled St Mary’s School

Staff at St Mary’s School and Sixth Form College have been warned of job cuts this year.

They have been asked for voluntary redundancy and told this is because the number of pupils is falling. There will however be no wage reductions.

According to a staff restructuring report shown to the Observer, St Mary’s expects 22 college leavers in 2015 with fewer coming in.

Local authorities are not placing as many children because of financial pressure, the report claimed, with the cost approximately £58,000 for most of them. St Mary’s might have 25 fewer pupils so the possible £1.5 million reduction in its £7 million income is “significant.”

St Mary’s is planning for a total of 80 pupils but “worst case scenario” is 60.

As the current cost of staffing is about 80 percent of the budget, with 195 full time equivalent posts, it is thought the school could lose up to 21.

Don Young, chair of governors and trustees, commented: “St Mary’s has enjoyed a really positive period in recent months and clear, solid progress is being made following last year’s OFSTED inspection.

“Therefore, it is somewhat regrettable that once again we face ourselves being asked questions on something negative. We have simply been doing what every other school and educational establishment has been doing, and that is looking at our pupil numbers for September 2015. This is the usual process undertaken at this time of year and then we amend our staffing accordingly. It was inevitable there would need to be a review of staffing in preparation for a new academic year.

“St Mary’s has been dealing with a falling roll as a natural impact of the bulge of college leavers each summer for the last three years.

“We can confirm we are in the middle of a month-long consultation with staff ending June 1, and at this stage we believe there will be less than 15 full-time posts affected.

“We are aware that higher figures may have been suggested elsewhere in the media but let us please emphasise that this is most unlikely to be the case.

“We are doing our very best to ensure that the impact on staff is as low as possible, and we will listen to the responses to the consultation feedback before specific changes are agreed. Furthermore, from meetings and conversations that have taken place, we believe this is not directly linked to the OFSTED inspection last year.”