Union slams school's plan to make nine teaching assistants redundant
TEACHING assistants at a city academy are to lose their jobs.
The cuts by Southwark Primary School in Basford have led to an outcry from Unison.
The public sector trade union said nine staff who help children with learning difficulties will be made redundant at the end of the term.
It is part of a staff reorganisation at the academy, with the remaining assistants having their roles downgraded.
David Wand, of Unison, said the move was a big mistake.
The assistants spend time with children with conditions such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyslexia to make sure they don't fall too far behind other pupils.
Mr Wand said: "The level two assistants play a vital role in life at the academy.
"They are invaluable for the children they look after.
"I don't see the need for the academy doing this.
"It is upsetting parents and will upset children.
"There is an additional number of teachers to be employed to replace the support staff, leading to increase in costs and possibly more redundancies in the future, leading to more upset for vulnerable children."
The school held a consultation period, with staff handing in skills audits.
Those facing redundancy were told at the end of February.
Their effective dismissal date will be March 31.
Mr Wand added: "This is an area of high deprivation. The number of pupils requiring support with basic bodily functions and hygiene is increasing.
"The number of pupils with dyslexia is increasing.
"Teaching assistants are trained to deal with this so teachers can get on with their jobs."
The mother of one child who had behavioural problems in the school's nursery, who did not want to be named, said the teaching assistant who had cared for her son had made a real difference.
She said: "She can't do enough for him and the other children.
"My child had behavioural difficulties when he started in September but since the assistant started helping out there has been a huge difference.
"He really likes her and his results have been great.
"I genuinely believe that if she leaves, he would struggle to cope with it and his behaviour will fall back again."
One teaching assistant, who did not want to be named, said: "I am devastated by this silly decision to cut staff who have worked long and hard for the children.
"We have been told that our hard work is not recognised or valued by the school or the governing body."
The Post contacted the academy a number of times but no one was available for comment.