Redundancy-threatened Suffolk school staff have voted to strike to save their jobs, UNISON reveals today.
The teaching assistants and midday supervisors at Pot Kiln Primary School in Sudbury voted 90% in favour of strikes.
Pot Kiln wants to cut classroom assistant and midday supervisor numbers after running up a £75,000 deficit. School bosses say student numbers are predicted to fall, while the school has a higher number of TAs than other primaries. UNISON says that is down to a high number of pupils with special educational needs.
School leaders initially wanted to make 15 of the 36 learning assistants and midday supervisors redundant but have reduced that number to 10 after UNISON, backed by a 600-strong petition from parents and the local community, spoke out.
Planned job losses would mean a reduction in total support staff hours of 26.5%. By contrast, pupil numbers are only expected to fall 8% over the next four years.
UNISON Eastern regional organiser Winston Dorsett said: “It’s not right that Pot Kiln’s classroom assistants and midday supervisors should pay the price for the school’s poor financial planning.
“These staff play an essential role in children’s education and drastically slashing their numbers like this is sure to hit their learning.
“UNISON and parents have managed to reduce the number of job losses, but unfortunately Pot Kiln and Suffolk County Council still want to sack essential staff.
“Pot Kiln workers absolutely don’t want to be on strike but they’ve got no other option if they want to save their jobs and their pupils’ education.”