An academy trust has told more than 100 staff across its schools they face losing or having to reapply for their jobs as part of a savings drive that a union says “undermines ministers’ claims that headteachers have increased autonomy in academies”.
The Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) will undergo a major restructure across its 21 schools in the Midlands and East of England.
The Unison union said the trust is looking to save £500,000. The trust did not confirm this, but said support staff roles across some of its 21 academies could be restructured, with up to 32 potential job losses.
Unison said staff will be asked to reapply for jobs on a lower pay grade, and some face having to work over larger geographical areas.
Jon Richards (pictured below), Unison’s head of education, said: “Ministers claim academy status gives heads a greater degree of autonomy over the running of their schools.
He has also berated the trust for the cost-cutting measures while its two top executives are paid a combined £340,000.
Ian Cleland, chief executive, earns at least £180,000 while Joyce Hodgetts, managing director, earns at least £160,000.
Cleland, in a statement sent to Schools Week, said: “The education sector is facing a number of significant financial challenges across the country with all schools, academies and multi-academy trusts being affected.
“As a result, it is essential that we review our costs and consider where savings can be made, without impacting on the quality of education.”
Richards added: “This decision has come as a bolt from the blue, and will have left hundreds of staff feeling shocked and disorientated.”
The union said it is now seeking talks with the trust to find out why it is making “damaging cuts”.
But Cleland added: “These changes will help us to ensure that our academies operate as efficiently as possible so that they can focus increasingly limited resources on teaching staff and academy improvement.
“We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time. We are working to minimise job losses wherever possible and we are making every effort to support staff through these changes.”
ATT took over 16 schools between August 2012, and September 2013, but was “paused” from expanding further by the Department for Education a month later. Officials wanted to review exams results before allowing further expansion.
The restriction was lifted in September 2014.
Picture: Ian Cleland, chief executive of ATT