Suffolk primary school plans to sack half its teaching assistants

Nearly half of teaching assistants at Pot Kiln Primary School in Suffolk face the sack, UNISON reveals today.

The Sudbury school plans to lay off up to 15 of its 36 classroom assistants and midday supervisors, blaming an “unforeseen” budget shortfall of £75,000 and flagging student numbers. Pot Kiln claims it has more teaching assistants per students than other schools.

But UNISON points out the high number of teaching assistants is due to above-average numbers of students with special education needs (SEN). The unions says many of the threatened staff work one-to-one full time with SEN pupils so reductions in these numbers would seriously damage their education.

The school estimates that student numbers will fall by around 8% over the next four years, leading to a drop in income. UNISON says reducing support staff numbers by around 40% is a massive overreaction that will be bound to disrupt students’ learning.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Winston Dorsett said: “Pot Kiln seems to expect its loyal teaching assistants and midday supervisors to carry the can for the school’s own financial failings.

“School leaders couldn’t get their sums right as they ran up this deficit and their figures don’t add up now that they’re trying to fire staff.

“Cutting these jobs will inevitably harm children’s education, especially given how many of these roles are solely based on supporting pupils with special educational needs. We hope the head, governors, and whole Pot Kiln community will think again.”

UNISON has launched a petition calling on Pot Kiln and Suffolk County Council not to make cuts.

Sign the petition