Redundancies planned at Burnley high school

Hameldon Community College in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons
Hameldon Community College in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons

Falling pupil numbers will lead to a raft of teacher redundancies at a troubled Burnley school in the new year.

The Burnley Express has discovered that staff at Hameldon Community College, which is bidding to become an Academy, were informed in an email from headteacher Miss Gill Broom that there would be staff cuts – leading to some fearing the school may close.

A letter from Lancashire County Council’s principal human resources manager for schools, Anne Sutton, said: “The school has experienced a decline in pupil numbers year on year since it opened.

“If current staffing levels are maintained, the school budget would have an estimated deficit of £2.24m. in the financial year April 1st, 2014, to March 31st, 2015. There is no estimated reserve.

“As can be seen from the budgetary forecasts, present staffing levels cannot be maintained.”

The letter goes on to say that, at present, the maximum number of employees at risk of redundancy is 10.91 full time equivalent teaching staff and 9.2 full time equivalent support staff.

Cuts, including temporary posts, would come from the English department, as well as ICT, geography, history, RE, art music, learning for life and science.

One of a number of staff members at the school, who contacted the Express about the proposed cuts, said: “Staff received an email highlighting massive cuts to staffing, and the massive deficit the school has got itself into.

“Administration and teaching assistants are also to suffer massive reductions and therefore in January the school will be operating on a ‘skeleton’ staff.”

The Burnley Express revealed in July that Hameldon was bidding for Academy status from the Department for Education.

Headteacher Gill Broom said: “There is no truth in any rumour that the school is to close in 2015.

“After reviewing the curriculum and the available funding, it is necessary to look at the school’s staffing levels.

“In the letter to staff, we have identified a number of teaching and non-teaching posts in areas which we are proposing to reduce. We have also said that, as we are now in a period of formal consultation with teacher professional associations and UNISON, those proposals may change.

“If staff within the school have queries that they wish to raise regarding the letter and the process, these should be addressed through their professional association, union representatives or directly to the Staffing Review Committee.

“It is important to remember that making sure that our students receive a high standard of education and pastoral care will always be our highest priority. To that end, we will maintain appropriate staffing levels and we’ll continue to work with our school advisor to ensure that the high standards achieved in GCSE examinations this year will be maintained.”