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Carlisle's Richard Rose academy schools to shed 50 more jobs

Staff at Carlisle’s two Richard Rose academies have been dealt a fresh blow with news that around 50 jobs – approximately a sixth of the workforce – are to go by the summer.

Mike Gibbons photo
Mike Gibbons

The man heading the federation which runs the Central and Morton academies says it must save a further £1.5 million to help balance its books following a continued overspend since the schools opened in September 2008.

Mike Gibbons has pledged that front-line teaching will be protected, especially the core subjects of English and maths.

The workforce of around 300 was informed of the proposals at a series of meetings across the two sites yesterday afternoon. A consultation period runs until April 3 and talks will be held with unions.

The blow comes a year after an announcement of 70 jobs going in a bid to resize the workforce in the wake of creating two academies from three former secondary schools – Morton, St Aidan’s and North Cumbria Technology College.

Mr Gibbons, the chief executive of the Richard Rose Federation, says that the latest job losses are the second part of a two-year staff shake-up, to bring the organisation’s “pupil and teacher” and “pupil and adult” ratios back into line with national averages.

It will also end the federation’s overspending, which the Government has backed since a crisis at the Central Academy three years ago.

Mr Gibbons explained that the federation had been granted a period of grace where it was allowed to employ higher numbers of staff in the wake of its troubled start

“There will be savings across all levels of responsibility but the group that will be most protected will be front-line teachers,” Mr Gibbons said.

“We think this is the last of the amalgamation of the three predecessor schools. The reorganisation is partly for budgeting reasons, partly to get to national ratios and partly because of the efficiencies our two new buildings now bring us.

He added: "Schools have to be staffed according to the number of pupils and some of our year groups are smaller now."

A lot of those facing the axe could be support staff or part-time posts. It is not known which posts will go due to natural wastage, voluntary redundancies or compulsory job losses. Posts threatened with the axe will be identified by Easter.

If the necessary savings are made the federation’s books should balance by July 2013.

Mr Gibbons says that over the last year the overall pupil to teacher ratio across the academies has moved from 12 to one to 15 to 1, with a target of 18 pupils for every teacher working for the organisation.

The 1,200-pupil Richard Rose Central Academy employs 69 teachers and 99 support staff. Its sister academy at Morton has 584 pupils, 50 teachers and 45 support staff.

The sixth form employs 11 people and the federation another 25.

It was revealed in May last year that the Richard Rose Central Academy received the bulk of a £7m handout from Government quango the Young People’s Learning Agency, cash set aside to help academies in financial difficulties. The academy had been given £3.9m with a further £1m earmarked to help further.

Richard Rose Central Academy headteacher Russ Wallace is to retire at the end of the school year. He will leave in August after more than three years in charge of the academy. with co-head Jacky Kennedy taking over in September.

Have your say

Simon, teachers can only perform well if given the support and the environment to perform. Are teachers under-performing if they spend hours marking books each week, planning lessons, running revision classes and extra - curricular activities?
If a heart is so diseased that the person can not be saved does this mean that the surgeon is under - performing?

Posted by whataboutthekids on 5 March 2012 at 18:31

Are the Trustees supporting the present management - even with the awful results? Why isn't Ofsted going into these academies which are in the bottom two hundred in the country?
A root and branch clear out of all management is needed to give the children a fresh start with Heads who have real educational experience. Surely the Governors and Trustees have some responsibility for allowing things to get to this stage.

Posted by Rose on 29 February 2012 at 20:58

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