Sunderland school axes teachers to meet Government targets

Dr Phil Ingram, principal at Southmoor Academy.
Dr Phil Ingram, principal at Southmoor Academy.
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A SUNDERLAND school says it is having to make teachers redundant in a bid to meet Government targets.

Southmoor Academy is looking to shed six posts before the end of the academic year due to an overhaul of the curriculum.

However, it will also be looking to create five new posts in subjects such as languages and science.

The blow to Wearside’s teaching staff comes just weeks after Academy 360 announced it was shedding 30 posts due to falling pupil numbers.

Dr Phil Ingram, principal at Southmoor Academy, said they have to make changes to staffing to be able to meet the Government’s demands for new measures of success and schools across the country will be facing the same issues.

The Government is pressing ahead with the controversial English Baccalaureate, which means pupils will be expected to leave school with qualifications in English, maths, two sciences, a language and either history or geography.

This has led to fears that other subjects, such as the arts, will be marginalised.

To protect the identity of teachers affected by the redundancies, Dr Ingram declined to say which subjects are facing staff cuts, but the Echo believes PE to be among them.

He said: “This is purely to do with the changes to the curriculum.

“It is in no way a reflection on the ability of these teachers or anything to do with financial problems.

“There are only so many teaching hours in a day.”

Dr Ingram said the new measures are what the Government is expecting and what further education establishments will be looking for, so the Ryhope Road school would be failing in its duty to the pupils if it did not do everything possible to help them meet these standards.

He said it would also be financially irresponsible to keep employing teachers who don’t have enough classes to teach.

Dr Ingram said Southmoor Academy is working with union representatives and the six staff members involved to achieve the best possible outcome for them.

He said: “We have started this process early to enable people to find new posts.

“Some may want to apply for the new vacancies here, so we will have to wait and see what happens.”

By doing this, the principal expects the number of compulsory redundancies to be a lot less than six.