WALTHAMSTOW: Failing school for disabled children to cut support staff (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAMSTOW: Failing school for disabled children to cut support staff
A FAILING school for children with special needs is facing cuts in support staff, it has emerged.
William Morris School in Folly Lane, Walthamstow, caters for 136 children with severe learning difficulties and was placed in special measures following an inspection by Ofsted earlier this year.
It found the school was too reliant on external help and procedures to ensure children's safety were inadequate.
Now the school, which hopes to achieve academy status, is facing a reduction in support staff, such as teaching assistants and health assistants, from 50 to 41 in order to address a historic financial deficit.
In a consultation document seen by the Guardian executive headteacher, Gary Pocock, concludes that the number of support staff required to cover the “high level” of absentees is not sustainable with current funding levels.
He also proposes to increase the number of office workers.
Cleaners’ hours will also be reduced under the plan.
A formal meeting to notify staff and unions of the plan is due to take place today (January 12).
Mr Pocock, who was brought in two days after the school went into special measures, said: "We have done a lot to improve and the last time Ofsted came to check on progress they said 'The school has had considerable success in improving the quality of teaching'."
"Ofsted also said 'All safeguarding issues from the last inspection have been successfully addressed'.
"The school is still looking at a range of measures to improve standards, and one of these is to improve value for money.
"We currently have 50 Teaching Assistants for less than 140 pupils which is too many for this type of school.
"Any savings will be used to develop the school, improve its resources and provide better training for staff. There are no reductions to any health workers; this would be a matter for the health trust and not the school.
"Conversion to an academy is always considered when a school goes into special measures and this may be the best way for us to move forward, but it is early days at the moment as parents and staff have not been consulted.”
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