‘No compulsory redunancies’ at new academy

Thomas Whitham Sixth Form
Thomas Whitham Sixth Form

There will be no compulsory redundancies if a Burnley sixth form is granted its wish of becoming an academy according to an acting headteacher.

Thomas Whitham Sixth Form in Barden Lane, which the Burnley Express revealed last week is bidding for Academy status, will lose some staff due to “natural wastage”, including acting head Mr Dave Sheridan who is retiring.

Mr Sheridan said: “We are still in the very early stages of our bid to become an academy, and at the moment we aren’t anywhere near making any decisions.

“It’s a very slow process and we have to go through due diligence.

“We do have a large number of staff who are retiring this summer, including myself, but that is largely because of age.

“We also have a number of staff who are moving to other institutions, but these were decided before the academy announcement.”

Teaching unions have expressed concern over the “privatised” system of education under academies and that secondary level teachers could be re-classified as lecturers, which could lead to a drop in wages.

Academies are not governed by the local authority and receive funding directly from central government.

The Express revealed last week that if given the go-ahead by the Government, Thomas Whitham will form part of the Pennine Federation, along with Burnley College, Themis, and the Burnley campus of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Mr Sheridan said that the transformation to academy status could take until next Easter, but more likely September, 2015.

Burnley secondary school Hameldon Community College is also bidding for academy status with support from the Pennine Federation.