Staff restructure at Northampton Primary School will cut down hours for teaching assistants in the classroom

Upton Meadows Primary School has announced that redundancies could be possible for some staff by June.
Upton Meadows Primary School has announced that redundancies could be possible for some staff by June.

A major staff restructure will see hundreds of teaching assistant hours in the classroom at a Northampton primary school cut by June this year.

A letter went out to parents of Upton Meadows Primary School yesterday (April 3) that the academy would make sweeping changes for teaching assistants, librarians and the entire behavioural support team.

Headteacher Clare Searing, who took her post in September 2018, says the school could not operate for another five years with the current staff costs and had 'worked very hard to design a plan' that could steer the school away from overspending.

However, she could not guarantee there would be no redundancies for some staff by the next school year.

Mrs Searing said: "I absolutely believe that the restructure we are proposing will put us in a position to achieve the best outcomes possible for our children.

"We've worked hard to design a plan that doesn't just take away but puts people where our children need them the most.

"I suspect that other school across the country will be in a similar position in the months to come."

The school - which has capacity for 420 pupils - says if the current staff structure continues, it is looking at a £1.1m deficit by 2024.

The restructure will see teaching assistants only work in classrooms in the morning, before only one assistant between two classrooms in the afternoon.

However, all of the school's 14 classrooms will have a teaching assistant in the mornings.

Many staff who have left the school in the past year will not be replaced. Senior leaders in the school could help pick up teaching in classrooms.

The entire behaviour support team at the school - made up of seven members of staff - will be replaced by a team of two 'nurture and pastoral support' workers, who could help in classrooms alongside teaching assistants.

The school's librarian posts will become part-time, but hours lost here could be picked up by other schools in the NPAT.

It means many staff will now have to reapply for their jobs ahead of a final decision in June.

It comes nearly a year to the day since the school became part of Northampton Primary Academy Trust (NPAT).

A spokesperson for NPAT told the Chronicle and Echo: "The hope is we can reach a conclusion where redundancies do not have to happen. however, if we reach the end of the consultation and there is no other choice there it will have to happen.

"It is very likely in five years the deficit the school is facing will not exist.

"We want what is best for the children."

The trust also hopes to offer staff who could be made redundant jobs in other academies under NPAT.

NPAT is an academy chain that operates 11 schools across the town. They are; Abington Vale Primary School; Blackthorn Primary School; East Hunsbury Primary School; Ecton Brook Primary School; Headlands Primary School; Lings Primary School; Rectory Farm Primary School; Simon de Senlis Primary School; Thorplands Primary School and Nursery; Upton Meadows Primary School; and Weston Favell CofE Primary School.