Cowes teachers devastated after brutal job cut announcement (Updated)

It’s been proposed that significant numbers of staff, at all levels, be cut. We have the details. “Who is telling the parents?”, the teachers ask

Cowes Enterprise College

Last night the teaching staff and support workers at Cowes Enterprise College (CEC) were called into a meeting where an HR consultant told them of a proposal for massive job cuts.

OnTheWight has been informed, by a number of sources, that 26 support staff will be cut – equating to 40% of the support staff. Roles such as Teaching Assistants and SEN support.

This 40% cut excludes the staff working in IT, catering and the cleaners.

Those that would be left will be asked to take considerable pay cuts, dropping from pay level four down to level one – that’s a change of £17,000 to £12,000.

Teachers and management also to be cut
It’s proposed that five teacher posts will be cut, and OnTheWight understands middle management roles will be affected (the details of this are awaiting confirmation from the HR consultant).

Those with higher positions will be asked to shift to ‘Leadership’ roles, where they will have to take on significant extra work and the hours worked will have no contractual limit.

Head of Governors
“It’s not something that we’ve wanted to do, but it is necessary”, Rachel Fidler, head of the Governing body told OnTheWight, “It’s a consultation and we will listen to what is suggested.”

Addressing the question raised by teacher of the delays Rachel Fidler said:

“We’ve been working with the local authority to ensure that funds are in place – to cover early retirement and voluntary redundancy. Last week we reached an agreement, so there has been some delay in bringing the detail to the staff.”

Teacher: “Morale has hit rock bottom”
Unsurprisingly staff at the school tell us, “Morale has hit rock bottom.” “It’s such a shame,” they said, “just at a time when we were trying to get out of Special Measures and improvements were being made.”

The timing couldn’t have been worse as Ofsted started a two-day inspection yesterday (Thursday).

Support needed from parents
“We really need the support of the parents and the community”, OnTheWight was told.

“We are here for the pupils – in spite of what is being done to us,” the concluded.

Updated 13:49: Added comments by Rachel Fidler.

Friday, 21st March, 2014 1:39pm



Filed under: Cowes, Education, Isle of Wight Jobs, Isle of Wight News, North Wight, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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47 Comments on "Cowes teachers devastated after brutal job cut announcement (Updated)"

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I find it astounding that such savage cuts can be made to core staffing, when the school is in Special Measures. Particularly as there are positions for so many “Principles” and other related posts on presumably rather high salaries.

Would this not have to be approved by Ofsted?

Black Dog
I thought the era of the consultant had passed. No they are apparently alive and well and living at the Cowes Enterprise College. Why do we need HR consultants? What is the role of the govenors? Who is paying for the consultants? Who engaged the consultants? What role does Hampshire have in this? Were the unions advised? What was the brief to the consultants? Who driefed the… Read more »
Tony Suckling
Great timing as Ofsted are in the school yesterday and today!. I also cannot believe there are enough teachers as it is as my Daughter goes there and she tells me that substitute teachers are common place as the proper teachers are never there. I am now looking to home educate my daughter as this seems to be the way forward on the island as all schools… Read more »
Island Monkey
Blame the unions. When did you last hear of a teacher being sacked for incompetence? The answer is never, because it doesn’t happen. In the world of education, everyone pretends that all teachers are great and so improvement with existing staff is challenging if not impossible. Better to make staff redundant, pension them off early with taxpayers money than admit the people previously employed have contributed to… Read more »

How about the management being sacked for incompetence?

Ian Young
Could a small part of the problem be that we seem to have handed over large parts of the education system to groups of unqualified individuals who are nothing more than well meaning amateurs? These people present themselves as education and indeed financial experts when in fact they are just people with an opinion on education. Perhaps it’s time to admit that the outsourcing of education has… Read more »
Paul, a parent
It’s great that people are considering the bigger picture of education in this country. However, there is now a high degree of urgency in this particular case related to this story. This consultation, if it goes through to a decision, will impact hugely on many young people’s lives. We have to question those people who are making this decision – the governors, the Headmistress who is conspicuous… Read more »
No different to all the other academies on the island. All are looking to shed jobs especially SEN and teaching assistants. Why? One reason is that the academies all need to try and save money to pay the managements wages. They certainly won’t be going short. Another reason is because pupil numbers are dropping. Why is this? Because there is a free school starting up in Ventnor… Read more »

Presumably IWC will also cut the additional premiums given to academies for SEN and check that past disbursements have been spent on SEN. (I know that in some cases it hasn’t!)


How much did the “HR Consultant” cost? Who paid for him/her. Not IWC, I hope!

Mark Francis

HR consultant eh?
I could get their job done much cheaper by employing my dog.He is a good judge of character, popular with children and will work for cheese.


30% increase for Ian Stephens and 30% cut at Cowes Ent College…hmmm

Budget Budget shortfall is £900k circa 20%; which begs the question: If you were Ormiston would you take over a college in this financial state let alone one which is failing on all educational fronts (see OFSTED)? Further questions: Who manages the budget? Who sets the priorities? Why are they not squeezing suppliers or cutting out unnecessary spent? Who is counting the pennies on a daily basis?… Read more »

The teachers didn’t make a hullabaloo and “told you so”, but they did tell us so…

They are having to go on strike, yet again, so let’s hope it is even more powerful this time round so people will sit up and listen.

Albert Street

Funny that we have no comments from the Independent councillors who so lovingly droned on about the their leader. This is a serious matter that deserves immediate attention together with answers to questions posted here. Where is the leadership now?


The “leadership” (sic) that caused the fiasco in Island education was dumped by the electorate and has run off to the mainland to lick their wounds and post on OTW under pseudonyms!

Where is the condemnation from the remaining Tory councillors who voted like sheep to bring the system to the Island?

We cannot allow this proposal to be confirmed. If you are a parent of a child at Cowes Enterprise College or if you are simply concerned about the education of young people on the island, I would ask you to write to the governors, the headmistress and the Ormiston Trust. There is still a chance to prevent this from happening and, thereby, protect our children’s future. Yes,… Read more »

Well there is a CEC advert in the county press this week for student/ trainee teachers I sure hope their plan isnt to replace teachers with trainees!!!!!


Trainee teachers? It might well be! The government is cutting the number of university PGCE places that train postgraduates on a one-year course (often self-funded) and trying to replace it with “in-service teacher training”. More public money will find its way to academy pockets.

The Academy system is just another capitalist ploy that allows the government to enable asset-stripping of public assets by their sponsors and donors who are given the assets for little or nothing. Introduced by the Tory-Lite “President” Blair’s “Administration” in 2000- wasn’t John Denham a Minister of State at this time?- seized eagerly by the incoming Cameron Tory government to let the asset-strippers loose on education. As… Read more »

Totally agree.

Underemployment, unemployment, zero-hours contracts, no redress unless you are wealthy. Eloi and Morlocks are being defined. This has to stop. It is not economical or psychologically sustainable. The solution is to pay everyone a living wage. Cleaning and supporting are no less important than teaching. Perhaps small differences in hourly rates could be justified based on experience, qualification and responsibility. How can anyone justify such a large… Read more »

Where is society going? Gradually regressing backwards to Victorian and eventually feudal times!



Which correlates with what?……

Quote “Those that would be left will be asked to take considerable pay cuts, dropping from pay level four down to level one – that’s a change of £17,000 to £12,000.” I bet the SENs and TAs love that paragraph. If only they were paid £17,000. That is the full post pay scale for 37 hour/week for 52 weeks. Most are paid by the hour at around… Read more »
Get rid of Rachel Fidler for a start would be my suggestion. A woman who has spent her career trying to build her reputation on putting youngsters in to careers now finds herself taking careers away from others. It’s disgusting. She only ever got involved because of money and the status she so desperately seeks. Well it’s backfired and first on the chopping board should be those… Read more »

I’ve read through all the comments so far and with just a very few exceptions folk are talking about money in one way or another.

The obsession with money is, I suggest, at the root of the problem.


Perhaps itthe fear of lack of money caused by unemployment, rising household bills and benefit cuts?



Again, things are indicative aren’t they?

Sure, these are hard time for most of us. But by no means are all of us in the same boat…£3m salary for the new CEO of a bankrupt CooP ostensibly owned by the membership? However I suggest that no amount of extra money will make a good teacher out of a bad teacher or that a reduction in money will make a good teacher bad. True,… Read more »

Poor pay will tempt good teachers to abandon teaching for better paying careers, the poor ones will continue teaching- lose:lose!

During debates like this I always wonder why the posters seem to have a complete loss of memory of anything that happened before 2005 when the Island First Coalition of Independents and Lib Dems were in charge. The poor quality of Island education goes back much further than 2005, as identified by the Economist in a recent article. So it wasn’t all the Tories fault, they were… Read more »
the problem bay boy is that over 9 years ago many of the pupils in the school would not have been affected by this at all.If they were not affected by this then we as parents would not really have taken much notice. My boy is in year 9 and they were the last year for middle schools when in the last year all he had to… Read more »

Probably the same reason why bayboy does want to go back to 1977 when the Conservatives were in control and like to ignore that the intervening years when the Libs were in control, the national educational system was run by “Milk-Snatcher” Thatcher as initially Education Minister, then PM and then dictator?


“… does NOT want to go back…”

I do not know about the 5 teachers thata re set to lose their jobs. However, most of the redundancies will come from the highest queslity team of learning support assistants I have ever known. My child previously went to a school that was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted but the SEN Department at that school was not a patch on that at Cowes Enterprise. The Learning Support… Read more »

Sorry, anger got in the way of my typing…
queslity –> quality

Ian Young
So the 5 year debacle that is Cowes Enterprise College haves nothing to do with the last administration, has nothing to do with the Governors past and present, has nothing to do the multitude of education experts who have all added their option and then disappeared without trace, and nothing to do with well paid Council Officers but instead it’s all the fault of the teachers. I… Read more »
Ian Young

Sorry for susses read success

Reap what you sew. The island’s education and training providers are all in it for the money (possible exception of the college) and guess what, the world has moved on and left the island behind. Privately owned academies and fund-chasing training providers pretending to be charities is what the island has created. I feel for the teachers and even mote for the kids. Their only chance being… Read more »

Not petty politics I’m afraid, this is major neo-liberal wrecking of the education system, Gove and co. are just the arbiters.It’s been going on since Keith Joseph.

There have been serious questions posed, notably by blackdog. Answers are needed, from the IW Council, Hampshire, the college Principal and the Governors, but silence and/or obfuscation reigns. Where is the Ormiston Trust in all this? Can the Consultants’ report be made publicly available? Many parents must be increasingly alarmed at the way in which the whole college project has lurched from crisis to crisis with nobody… Read more »
Hardly minimum impact Ms Fidler on staff or pupils. Not only is the cut in support staff savage but the pay cuts that remaining support staff and some teaching staff will endure are just as massive. There are 4 levels of teaching assistant and they are paid on Scales 1-6 depending on their roles and responsibilities and based on training,qualification and experience. Under the new structure most… Read more »
Don Smith

All these job cuts, yet teachers are planning one day strikes; the mind boggles!

Pupil numbers will be down with the opening of the new school in East Cowes and the free school in Ventnor ,pupil numbers will be down due to the low birth rate over the last few years ,I am sure the school have a pretty good idea of the numbers in the next intake and have too cut their cloth accordingly ,yes i feel for those who… Read more »
In despair
Most of the redundancies will be learning support assistants (LSAs) that are desperately needed for children with special education needs. The LSAs at CEC are the best I have ever known. Without their support, I do not know how my child will perform. With their support, my child was doing really well and on target for good GCSE grades. Yes, you should feel sorry for those that… Read more »
Successive Governments ran down Special Needs and Behaviour units in the last couple of decades. Special schools were cut first.The first plan was integration into mainstream. The schools that managed to hang on also replaced Learning Support Teachers with LSA’s – a cheaper option but in some cases it was more heads with less skills. Dyslexia support units were usually quite small or disappeared. The skills have… Read more »