Another city school’s plans to make support staff redundant has been met with protests.
The GMB union says that Moulsecoomb Primary School has informed staff and trade unions of proposals to make around 11 compulsory redundancies in their support staff – affecting almost 40% in the school’s support staffing level.
Similar plans by West Hove Infant School were averted after talks between the headteacher, union bosses and school governors last month.
As well as feeling the same financial squeezes that schools up and down the country are experiencing, both schools recently agreed to reduce their intake by 30 pupils each from next September due to falling numbers of children applying for places there – and as a result, less funding.
Coombe Road Primary also agreed to take 30 fewer pupils from next year.
The local GMB branch has been told that were the school not to take action on their finances, they would have a projected budget deficit of around £318,000.
Mark Turner, GMB Branch Secretary said: “This level of cuts to the school will be devastating, not only to staff forced to lose their jobs but also to the children that attend the school.
“This school provides care and education to children from of the most vulnerable areas in the City of Brighton and Hove and the GMB calls upon the local education authority, ward councillors and the leader of the council to step in to prevent these cuts.
“This is now the second school in the city to propose potential compulsory redundancies, the last school being West Hove Infants where after much lobbying and work by GMB with the school and LEA, the compulsory redundancies were finally avoided and some other proposed cuts were also reduced.
“I have to say that in regards to Moulsecoomb Primary, this is looking very serious and very difficult to resolve, in fact my concern is that we will be on a collision course with the school and LEA on an industrial relations basis, which we still of course hope to avoid.
“The proposals will not only effect our members losing jobs but the effective delivery of education of children attending the school, often needing a lot of support. Let’s not forget that this school is in the middle of one of the most deprived areas of the city.
“Today I have written to Pinaki Ghoshal, Executive Director of Families, Children and Learning, requesting an urgent meeting with him, the school and councillors to explore ways to attempt to prevent this school from being the first to have to make compulsory redundancies.
“An additional concern however is that from information we have, this may not be the only school in the area facing the same situation. The Moulsecoomb and Bevendean area will likely face a further attack on school services.”
A council spokesperson said: “Moulsecoomb Primary is currently consulting with staff on proposals designed to address their budget situation.
“The council is supporting the school in this process and will continue to support the school to mitigate impact on staff as far as possible.
“Through this process we and the school are continuing to engage with staff and Trade Unions as is our usual practice.
“At this stage no decisions have been taken about the future of the staff at the school who may be at risk as a result of these proposals.”