Falling rolls lead to job cuts at city school

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Jobs are being axed as a Preston school tries to balance its books.

Falling rolls and tight budgets have been blamed for the latest redundancies at Ashton Community Science College.

Union officials are in talks with bosses at the Aldwych Drive school over plans to shed around 20 posts, more than half of them teachers.

But staff are worried about where the axe will fall.

The school said one of the main reasons for the jobs cuts was that pupils inherited when the former City of Preston High School closed had now worked their way through the system, leaving a surplus of staff.

Ashton took over City of Preston, including some staff, in 2009 and also set up it’s own sixth form.

Chairman of governors Mark Gutteridge said: “Now that the last of the pupils from the City of Preston are in their final year, we have reached the point where we will reluctantly have to make some teaching and support staff compulsorily redundant, although we hope to keep the numbers who are affected by this as low as possible.”

He added that the school had been “managing the falling rolls situation through a voluntary redundancy programme since January 2010.”

Mr Gutteridge said: “We are fully committed to maintaining a full and exciting curriculum and the quality of teaching and learning enjoyed by our pupils and I’m pleased to report that a number of other schools, impressed by the calibre of our staff, are keen to explore offering them secondments and other opportunities.”

Ian Watkinson, spokesman for the National Union of Teachers said the school was consulting with the unions. He added that there had been concerns for some time about the potential job losses and the NUT was working to get members the best deal.

At it’s height, in 2010/11, the school had 1,020 pupils but numbers are expected to fall to 687 by September.