CITY Tory Leader Robert Oliver has defended the principle of academies after news a city school is axing up to 30 jobs.
The Echo revealed yesterday that Academy 360, in Pennywell, plans to cut 14 teaching and 16 non-teaching posts.
The school has blamed a drop in funding caused by a fall in pupil numbers for the decision.
Councillor Oliver said it was not the idea of academies that was at fault but the way it had been implemented.
“The fundamental problem with Academy 360 is it is an academy which has not improved fast enough,” he said.
“The Conservative group did not support the Sunderland model academies.
“We prefer the academies in which the local authority does not have any influence through its choice of governor or its choice of sponsor.”
The fall in pupil numbers was caused by students moving to rival schools, which Coun Oliver said was down to the academy “not providing the quality of education that is being supplied by other academies”.
He added: “It is right the redundances are principally caused by the loss of pupils but the answer to that is to make the school improve so pupils would not want to leave.”
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, Shadow Minister of State for Children and Families, said: “Academy 360 has made great improvements in outcomes for local children over the last few years, and the teaching staff deserve a great deal of praise for that success.
“Unfortunately it is inevitable that falling rolls will result in decreased funding and therefore staff restructuring.
“I will be seeking to meet with the head and governors as soon as possible to discuss the challenges they are facing, and how they can best meet them for the benefit of pupils, parents and staff.”