Troubled primary school facing financial problems which could lead to redundancies

A primary school where two senior staff members were suspended is suffering from '˜a substantial budget deficit' which could lead to redundancies.

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 2:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 2:31 pm
Seascape Primary School, Peterlee.

An investigation was recently launched at Seascape Primary School in Peterlee following the suspension of two members of staff.

Melanie Hudson, headteacher, and Darren Hobson, business manager, are believed to have not returned to Seascape Primary School in Peterlee since the Easter holidays.

Now, in a letter to staff members, it has been revealed that the school is facing financial problems.

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In the letter acting headteacher, Emma Rowntree, said: “The govering body are aware of a problem that has arisen in school as a result of a substantial budget deficit, which may require a review to the current staffing structure.

“In the interests of making all parties aware of the problem, I will be alerting the staff and asking if anyone has any suggestions for resolving the problem.

“These suggestions may include: requests for voluntary redundancy, requests for reduced hours or job share etc.”

Alison Lazazzera, Durham County Council’s head of people and talent management, said: “Schools across the county are currently setting their budgets for the next school year working to the revised budget from the new funding formula.

“When any school is presented with a budget deficit it is normal practice to follow the process of considering whether any staffing reductions are necessary.

“Part of the process is to advise staff and trades unions and to seek any volunteers in the first instance before any compulsory redundancies are considered, as well as looking at other alternatives to achieve savings.”

With regard to the suspension of Ms Hudson and Mr Hobson, Durham County Council said it was normal practice for staff to be suspended which an investigation takes place and that this does not infer any wrongdoing.

The authority said it was working to conclude the issue as soon as possible and that interim arrangements are in place to ensure children’s continuing education.

Ms Lazazzera, said: “As is normal practice following a concern related to school administration, an investigation is being undertaken.

“We are working to conclude this process as soon as possible and appreciate parents’ patience at this time.

“It would not be appropriate for us to comment further.”

An Ofsted report into the Ellison Road school was published in January this year saying the school requires improvements.

It said leadership, quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils all require improvements.

However, they said personal development, behaviour and welfare of children is good, as is the early years provision.