One of the country’s largest multi-academy trusts has ditched plans to cut 130 jobs – including those of school caretakers and maintenance staff responsible for carrying out fire safety checks and dealing with maintenance emergencies.
The Ormiston Academies Trust, which operates 38 primary and secondary schools across the country, met with opposition over the plans from public service union Unison, which raised concerns over health and safety.
The trust had also been proposing to cut a number of information and communication technology (ICT) jobs, with affected staff due to learn their fate just before Christmas, according to Unison – which today hailed the change of plan as a “victory”.
Revealed: The academy trusts paying £150k salaries
Unison head of education Jon Richards said: “The proposal to cut back on caretakers and other staff would have had a terrible impact on the health and safety of pupils and staff.
“We will continue to work with Ormiston to improve services without affecting children’s education by cutting jobs and resources.
“This decision sends a clear signal to those in government championing cuts and centralisation of support staff that the risks to pupils simply aren’t acceptable.”
Employees at schools across the East of England, East Midlands, North West, South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside faced a range of changes to their jobs including redundancies, pay cuts and working across several locations.
The rethink will now provide relief for the staff who had feared for their jobs, said Unison, which had been campaigning for the trust to drop the plans amid concerns that not enough consideration had been given to the impact on the health, safety and welfare of children at the affected schools.
A spokesperson for Ormiston Academies Trust said: “We have been pleased with the level of engagement with the consultation we opened last month. We were always clear that we wanted to hear the views of all interested parties and that no decisions had been made. As a result, we have decided not to proceed with the proposals.
“As a well-run and financially responsible organisation privileged to serve 29,000 pupils, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, we will continue to invest in school improvement, teaching and learning, and our wider team, while being as efficient as ever.”