Demoralised support staff fear they will bear the main brunt of any cuts as The Bay CE School considers potential redundancies.
A major staffing restructure has been proposed for the Sandown school in 2020/21, across both primary and secondary sites, which is feared to have a negative impact on the schools special education needs (SEN) provisions.
A statement from the school confirmed the restructure, but did not comment on individual proposals.
It is thought a number of technician and site staff, as well as four teachers and five learning support assistants — nearly half the SEN support team — could potentially be in the firing line.
Staff are “demoralised, frustrated and angry”
Unison branch secretary, Mark Chiverton said support staff have already faced considerable cutbacks to their pay and conditions — “they are very demoralised, frustrated and angry that yet again they are bearing the main brunt of these cuts,” he said.
“They are also very concerned about the impact this leaves on the fabric of the school and the delivery of education services.
“They have a deep concern this could have a disproportionate impact on those with special needs, many of whom are very vulnerable.”
Proposals may not be approved
The proposals are only part of a consultation and may not be approved but it is thought the school needs to get its staffing budget in line with the Isle of Wight Council’s expectations.
When the council took back control of the school from Academies Enterprise Trust in 2018, staffing costs equated to 102 per cent of the overall school budget — the school is now expected to fall in line with the council’s standard 80 per cent.
Concern for SEN unit
A question mark is also looming over the future of the SEN unit for children with particular special needs, The Cove.
With fewer staff there are fears those affected won’t get the help they need.
A joint statement from Duncan Mills, executive headteacher and Teresa Westcott-Hayes, head of school (pictured) said:
“We confirm The Bay CE School has issued a consultation document for a proposed staff restructure.
“We are looking for viable solutions to our inherited deficit position. The school will take all reasonable steps to mitigate against any compulsory redundancies where possible.
“At this stage no decisions have been made and we will not comment on individual proposals.
“However, we can give absolute assurance that the best interests of our students remain at the centre of what we do.”
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed