Suffolk: Teachers facing job cuts

Nearly a fifth of the teaching posts at one of the largest schools in the town are set to be axed at the end of the academic year, the Evening Star can reveal today.

Teachers at Thurleston High School have been sent letters by headteacher Mike Everett warning that up to seven of nearly 37 teaching posts could be cut due to finance problems caused by falling student numbers.

The letter, which calls for voluntary redundancies, states: “As you know the school has been in an increasingly difficult financial position in recent years mainly due to falling student numbers.

“We have tried very hard to adjust our costs and particularly our staffing in line with this, but we have reached a point now where we have to take more decisive action.

“The pupil numbers we are anticipating at the start of the 2011-12 school year are 610.

“This is going to have a detrimental effect on the finances of the school and we are seeking to take early action to remedy the problem.”

Mr Everett told the Star that Thurleston had always had quite a high number of teachers compared with similar schools in the area. The proposed reduction in numbers would bring it in line with similar schools.

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“We have seen a fall in the number of school-age youngsters living in our catchment area over recent years,” he added.

Mr Everett could not say whether last year’s Ofsted report – which raised concerns about bullying at the school – had had an effect on school numbers.

Graham White, from the National Union of Teachers, warned that other schools could be forced to follow Thurleston’s example over the next few weeks.

He said: “Schools are expected to get their budgets next week and they may then need to look at cutting costs. I fear there may be many other schools where similar redundancies are pushed through – that is right across the county. It is bound to affect the education of the students – there will be fewer teachers with larger classes and that will not be good for education in Suffolk.”