Strike over job losses at Sheffield school

Sheffield Park Academy.
Sheffield Park Academy.

Support staff facing the axe from a once-struggling Sheffield school are set to go on strike.

A total of 33 employees at Sheffield Park Academy - including eight teaching assistants, three learning mentors, student services staff and dinner ladies - have been threatened with redundancy as part of a restructure.

Consultation launched yesterday on a restructure which could result in staff being served with dismissal notices by April 1.

The news comes months after Sheffield Park Academy, Manor, run by United Learning Trust, celebrated its best-ever GCSE results after years of below average grades and bad Ofsted reports.

At a meeting last night, union leaders recommended strike action over the proposals.

Peter Davies, regional officer for GMB in Sheffield, said: “This school is in a deprived and very diverse part of Sheffield. It is a very difficult catchment area and this is going to have a massive impact.

“There was a huge budget deficit but over the past 18 months they’ve managed to turn that around.

“Instead of celebrating that they are looking where they can cut further.

“A huge amount of work has gone into improving this school and rather than a congratulations this is the thanks staff get.

“This is their reward for helping to turn the school around. They justify cuts by comparing Sheffield Park to a school in Stockport.”

In a letter sent out to parents this week, headteacher Craig Dillon said the restructure is required because the school is currently ‘overstaffed’ following a decrease in child numbers, but unions argue the school has predicted its pupil population will rise again in 2015.

He said: “At present, the academy is overstaffed in terms of administrative staff and support staff.

“It is one of my most important responsibilities to ensure the academy spends its budget responsibly, effectively and with the most efficient use of its resources.”