Teachers threaten to walk out at three of Doncaster secondary schools

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Teachers in three of Doncaster’s biggest secondary schools could walk out over job fears.

The National Union of Teachers notified De Warenne Academy, Ash Hill Academy and Don Valley Academy of their intention to strike yesterday because of restructuring plans.

De Warenne Academy head teacher Gill Pollard after the schools Ofsted report. Picture: Andrew Roe

De Warenne Academy head teacher Gill Pollard after the schools Ofsted report. Picture: Andrew Roe

All three schools belong to the School Partnership Trust Academies chain and have a combined total of 2,495 pupils.

The NUT says the restructure will ‘result in the loss of teachers’ jobs and a narrowing of the curriculum’.

Staff at Melior Community Academy in Scunthorpe have also been balloted for strike action by the NUT.

NUT senior organiser Emma Forrest said: “We believe that SPTA are rushing into this restructuring without properly engaging in consultation with trade unions or parents or the wider community.
“The removal of subjects such as business studies and ICT as well dance, drama and music will lead to a distorted and unbalanced curriculum which will have a detrimental impact on pupils education.”
SPTA is the biggest academy chain in Yorkshire responsible for more than 40 schools. It appointed a new chief executive, Paul Tarn, in March this year.
The Trust also began working with another major academy chain Outwood Grange Academies Trust, where Mr Tarn had previously been the deputy chief executive.
It was revealed last year that a Government schools commissioner had written to SPTA to warn them about standards in a third of their schools.

A spokesman for SPTA said: “School Partnership Trust Academies recognises that, despite the hard work, diligence and professionalism of our staff some of the academies have outcomes for students that are some of the poorest nationally.

“We believe that students need a good grade in both English and Maths to be successful in accessing the next level of education, training or employment. 

“These will be the priorities for our schools moving forward, alongside a broad and balanced curriculum.

“The trust had an in-year deficit of £3.2m last year and is projecting a further in-year deficit of £6.8m this year. 

“We have worked hard to ensure that staffing structures reflect the academy and student needs and there are currently three potential compulsory redundancies in total across the four academies.  

“We recognise that the trade unions are trying to protect their members’ jobs in a very difficult time and we will continue to work with them supportively. 

“However, the Trust must take positive action to support and improve student outcomes and deliver value for money to parents and the wider community.”

Earlier this year Ofsted wrote to SPTA bosses about a series of inspections at their schools.

It found that the impact of the SPTA’s work in bringing about improvement where it is most needed had been too slow.
Ofsted also said SPTA was having more of an impact at its primary academies than its secondary schools.

The most recent Ofsted inspections at the secondary schools run by the trust found Don Valley Academy to be ‘inadequate’ and De Warenne Academy and Ash Hill Academy required improvement.

Gill Pollard, the previous principal at de Warenne, left the school earlier this year.