Staff could go in shake-up at Ipswich Academy which needs to make ‘significant’ savings

Ipswich Academy.

Ipswich Academy. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Teachers could lose their jobs as bosses of Ipswich Academy look to make “significant” savings to balance its finances.

The news comes in five months in which the academy, formerly Holywell High School, was placed into special measures and a major shake-up of its management was announced.

Up to 10 jobs, including classroom and non-teaching roles, could go. An unknown but “small” number of staff are also set not to have their contracts renewed.

Steve Bolingbroke, chief executive of Learning Schools Trust, the sponsor which runs the school, said its funding would not meet the costs for its next budget. The savings are set to be made by the staff cuts but also by streamlining elsewhere in the academy.

He said: “It is not a big deal, we are not closing a department. We are having to look at levels of staffing at the academy which may possibly lead to redundancies but we are looking at every possibility to stop that.

“The staff we are looking at includes teachers and we are looking at ways of doing it without redundancies, we need to save a significant amount of money.”

He said the cuts were necessary because of rises to teachers’ pay and the amount the academy contributes to their pensions. The changes will also mean a rise in some class sizes to 30 students.

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“These are increases (to pay and pensions) which are not funded by government, every school in Ipswich will give you the same answer,” Mr Bolingbroke added.

Speaking generally, Geoff Robinson, leader of Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training, said there was a need to encourage more people to become teachers to meet a rising demand.

“It is really important to balance pay with getting people to want to enter the profession and stay as teachers,” he said.

Dan McCarthy, executive member for teaching union NASUWT in Suffolk, questioned if the changes were needed because a new sponsor, Paradigm Trust, was taking over from September.

He said: “I do not expect that it should happen from September, it is too short a period of time. Talking about making redundant some teachers and teaching assistants, who contribute to children’s education – the assistants support children with special needs and only cost £8,000 a year.”

A spokeswoman for Paradigm said the trust could not comment as the sponsor was only running the school from September.

Mr Bolingbroke added: “It’s worth saying that it’s nothing to do with the change of sponsor, it would have to be done regardless if they came on board.”

He also added that Ofsted inspectors had described the school as making “good progress” in a new mini-inspection. It was given an “inadequate” rating and placed into special measures in a full inspection in January.

Graham White, secretary of Suffolk’s National Union of Teachers, said: “It’s difficult but any redundancy will have an impact on the quality of teaching in the school.”

Changes are due to be announced by the end of the month.