Academy trust in Peterborough to make redundancies

An academy trust which runs two schools in Peterborough is to make a number of redundancies.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 1:00 pm
Ormiston Bushfield Academy

Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs Ormiston Bushfield Academy secondary school in Ortongate and Ormiston Meadows Academy primary school in Orton Brimbles, has confirmed job losses will take place across its 38 schools but said it is too early to say how many there will be.

A spokesperson said the trust - which paid its chief executive Nick Hudson £184,160 last year - had “opened a consultation on the current staffing and operational structures so that they are as efficient as possible” while ensuring that children “receive the best possible educational opportunities”.

The redundancies were revealed by UNISON which said caretaking and maintenance jobs are being cut.

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The union claimed jobs will be lost in Peterborough from April with a slimmed-down force working across multiple sites.

It added that the threatened workers are responsible for conducting fire safety checks and ensuring fire alarms and escape routes are up to scratch, as well as carrying out regular building checks to make sure they are safe and free of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, with staff also on site to deal with maintenance emergencies.

The trust disputed UNISON’s claims that the redundancies across its network of schools could reach more than 130 and that pupil and staff safety could be compromised.

The Peterborough Telegraph has asked if redundancies will affect staff in Peterborough.

A trust spokesperson said: “Our Transforming Our Trust programme will enable us to do even more and make an even bigger positive difference to pupils, both inside and outside the classroom.

“As a financially responsible charity, which is absolutely committed to serving its pupils, we have opened a consultation on the current staffing and operational structures so that they are as efficient as possible while ensuring that the 29,000 children we support continue to receive the best possible educational opportunities.

“The process to date has of course included provision for the most robust health and safety standards going forward – nothing is more important than ensuring health and safety is of the highest standard and that will remain the case. It is irresponsible and entirely wrong to even suggest we would compromise on this.

“No decisions on the future structure have been made because we are still in a consultation period with our staff and trade unions and we are very keen to hear the views of all interested parties – but we are very clear that any redundancies will be nowhere near what has been quoted.”

Academies are independent schools which are outside of local authority control and receive their funding directly from the Government.

UNISON Eastern head of schools Tracey Sparkes said: “Employees crucial to the smooth running of schools are being pushed out of their jobs so a trust, which paid its chief executive £184,160 in 2018, can save on the salaries of caretakers, maintenance workers and ICT staff.

“Time and time again we’ve seen large organisations impose cost-cutting measures that sound good in the boardroom, but in the real world lead to poorer services, low morale, unemployment and, in this case, safety risks.”