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Union hits out at Kirkley job cuts plan

PUBLISHED: 08:57 21 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:39 06 July 2010

UNION officials have criticised plans for redundancies to help balance the books at Lowestoft's biggest high school.

Staff at Kirkley High were told last week that up to 11 posts may have to go as part of the school's plan to help tackle its budget deficit, believed to be in the region of £500,000.

UNION officials have criticised plans for redundancies to help balance the books at Lowestoft's biggest high school.

Staff at Kirkley High were told last week that up to 11 posts may have to go as part of the school's plan to help tackle its budget deficit, believed to be in the region of £500,000.

The National Union of Teachers said more should have been done to prevent the need for redundancies.

Graham White, the NUT's Suffolk secretary, said that before a meeting at the school on May 13, staff did not know what it was going to be about.

He said: “The staff are obviously devastated. They're under great pressure and people have already been suffering from stress.”

The school was put on special measures following a damning Ofsted report last month and Mr White said Suffolk County Council should have done more to support the school in previous months.

Headteacher Richard Pickard said he was working closely with the council to tackle the problems, many of which existed before he took on the role in September last year.

He said: “As a headteacher, I have the option to buy into local authority support and I do, because if anything goes wrong I turn to them for support, guidance and information.

“The local authority should have picked up on some of the school's difficulties earlier than they did, but if they were not allowed into the school, then they would not have been able to do that.” He added: “I have taken local authority advice on how to go through this redundancy process, and I am following that to the letter. The last thing I want is for morale to go through the floor.”

A county council spokesman said it stepped in as soon as Ofsted placed the school on special measures.

He said: “Schools are locally managed. We are there to make broad strategic decisions but we don't tell them what to do day to day. As for the budget, there is a clear level of responsibility for the school's leadership and governors... As soon as we knew about the budget deficit, we put as much support as we could into the school, including help from a senior member of our finance team.”

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