`Failing' school axes four more jobs

1st March 1996 at 00:00
Governors of a Birmingham school judged to be failing by Office for Standards in Education inspectors are to axe four teaching posts, even though extra staff were promised to help raise standards.

The management at Handsworth Wood Boys School will tell unions about the cuts next Tuesday, before holding a special staff meeting to explain the policy.

Six jobs have been lost since the inspection last year, and news of more cuts came as the 30 remaining staff were praised by inspectors for recent improvements.

Chair of governors Sheila Wright, a former Labour MP, said: "We've looked at the figures, and on the budget for the estimated number of pupils we have four more staff than we can afford.

"I hope the job losses will come about through early retirement, people leaving for other posts, and voluntary redundancy if necessary."

Headteacher Roger Coxon has been seconded from another Birmingham school to sort out the problems at Handsworth Wood. He said: "Like all heads, I am looking at the number of pupils we will have next year, the budget, and matching that to curriculum needs. It's a normal exercise I've done in the three schools where I've been head."

The school has a financial cloud hanging over it because of a Pounds 250, 000 overspend last year. That debt to the city council has been frozen, but will have to be paid back at an unspecified date.

Pupil numbers plummeted following the scathing OFSTED report, which was particularly critical of the atmosphere in the school.

In September, there was space for 120 Year 7 pupils, but fewer than 60 were enrolled. Numbers are expected to rise only by around a dozen for this autumn's intake.

But Ms Wright is optimistic. She said: "HMI have carried out their first follow-up inspection, and I received their report this week. It's not perfect but it says we now provide a 'secure environment for learning', which is a huge improvement. I'm pleased with what the staff have achieved in six months. "

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