Lydiate Learning Trust in Liverpool seeks to cut staff

An academy trust is consulting staff over redundancies just six months after taking over one of the eight schools offloaded by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET).

The Lydiate Learning Trust took over Childwall Sports and Science Academy, in Liverpool, from England’s largest academy chain in January.

AET had to offload eight of its schools for “geographic reasons” after being barred by the Department for Education from taking over any more schools amid fears that it was expanding too fast.

But just six months later, Lydiate has launched a consultation over redundancies.

The trust is also looking to cut staff at its other school, Deyes High, also in Liverpool. Documents seen by Schools Week show it is forecasting a £568,000 budget deficit for the coming financial year.

Union officials have said they are concerned over the trust’s long-term financial viability, with looming budget pressures such as increased national insurance and pension contributions yet to kick in.

Keith Bradley, Unison’s north west lead officer for schools, said: “It’s come out of the blue. We’re deeply concerned about the finances of the trust.

“We’re trying to establish how many people could be facing redundancy. Between the two schools we have been talking about figures exceeding 30.

“We are greatly concerned about redundancies and the impact it will have on the children.”

The trust did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, said he has been in talks with staff at Deyes. “It’s really important everything possible is done to maintain the school’s high standards. It’s a very good school and highly regarded – that’s not going to change.”

He said the redundancies represented a “worrying national picture”. “This is just the start. We need to challenge government, and say ‘if you’re serious about raising standards, you can’t go cutting hundreds of thousands of pounds off schools and expect them to still deliver for children’. That’s the reality.”

News of the redundancies comes as the trust deferred opening a new studio school in Liverpool.

Studio@Deyes was due to open in September, but after delays to the refurbishment of its proposed building, will now open in September next year.

According to its website, a head and deputy are already in post.

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