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Jobs to go as Oxford Spires Academy must make £500k of savings
SIXTEEN people will lose their jobs as Oxford Spires Academy makes cuts of half a million pounds.
The posts at the East Oxford school are to be made redundant next month.
Teaching assistants, cleaners, caretakers, administrators and technicians are among those who will receive redundancy letters this week.
And headteacher Sue Croft said she could not rule out the possibility of redundancies within teaching staff for August 2013.
Mrs Croft said the school had previously been overstaffed compared to the number of children on the roll.
She said: “We are doing what’s necessary to come into line with the number of students that are here.
“We have been very careful with our money and when staff have moved on that has been helpful because when we took over as an academy from the predecessor school, Oxford School, it was hugely overstaffed.”
The positions being made redundant are a mixture of full- and part-time posts, and include seven teaching assistants specialising in English as an additional language, special educational needs and inclusion.
Three members of staff applied for voluntary redundancy, while the rest will be compulsory redundancies.
The school will be left with six full-time higher-level teaching assistants (TAs), five TAs and four house support managers.
The redundancies are set to save about £500,000 a year – just under 10 per cent of the school’s 2012-13 budget of £5.1m.
Oxford Spires Academy has a capacity of 210 students per year from years seven to eleven. But there are only about 100 pupils in each of the first four years, while there are 180 pupils in Year 11.
Mrs Croft said: “There have been a number of factors that have conspired against us.
“Providing numbers are really high there is enough capacity to retain staff numbers, but because there was such a long time deciding what was going to happen to Spires prior to the decision to become an academy, numbers have been low now for four years.
“In the past there were a lot of grants around community and deprivation, so what would happen is there were a whole variety of new roles created and staff grew in times of extra cash.
“Now that funding has gone.”
Academies are funded per pupil in the same way that local authority schools are, but money which would go to the local authority for pooled resources such as special educational needs provision goes directly to the school. Academies legally cannot operate at a deficit but local authority schools can, providing they have a plan to get out of the deficit.
Earlier this month we reported how changes to the school funding formula would leave 152 Oxfordshire schools tens of thousands of pounds worse off.
Mrs Croft said no decisions would be made on whether there would be redundancies in teaching staff until the New Year.
That’s when teachers moving on would have handed in their notice and the numbers for the next academic year were confirmed.
If no staff left and the number of pupils remained the same, there could be up to five redundancies.
Gill Jaggers, 53, from Cricket Road, has a son, Leo, 15, at the school. She said: I understand balancing budgets for schools is incredibly difficult and there are few things you can do to cut costs, but this is definitely not a good thing.”
Gawain Little, Oxfordshire secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Budget-wise, the school is in a very difficult position. The school has worked with us closely to try to identify alternatives and look at all the possibilities.”