Lack of cash for secondary school in Rugby could mean seven redundancies

The head of Avon Valley School is urging parents to write to Rugby MP Mark Pawsey to voice their concern after budget constraints mean seven teaching assistants may be made redundant.

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Head teacher of The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College, Alison Davies, told the Advertiser the situation is 'very sad' and urged parents to write to their local MP to highlight concerns over increasing costs and reductions in funding for local authority schools.

She said: “Unfortunately it is the case that Avon Valley is consulting on making a number of redundancies to its quota of teaching assistants due to having less money available in the school budget.

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“Avon Valley currently employs approximately 40% more teaching assistants than most other schools in Warwickshire and while many of these schools have been gradually reducing their own quota of teaching assistants over a 2 to 3 year period, we have so far managed to resist this.

“It is very sad that the financial situation now is such that this can be resisted no longer, and a reduction of these posts is required to ensure our budget balances.

"It is expected that the school will lose around seven teaching assistant posts and it is working closely with human resources and recognised trade unions to ensure this process is as smooth as possible.

“In the first instance, expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy have been sought from post holders. Staff have been kept fully appraised of the situation and I will be communicating with parents this Friday in our fortnightly newsletter.

“With increasing costs and authority funding that is lower than that which the school received 4 years ago, this is a difficult time for the school.

“I would urge parents to write to their local MP regarding the current low levels of funding in education which are causing schools across the county to make these difficult decisions.”

Mr Pawsey said the pressures on the school have arisen partly as a result of the lack of alternative provision in Warwickshire for young people excluded from or at risk of exclusion from secondary school.

Along with other Warwickshire MPs, he is writing to the Department for Education to raise concerns over the lack of alternative provision and the impact it is having on schools.

He said the government’s National Funding Formula will: “address the historic underfunding of schools in Warwickshire” – which he has been campaigning about since becoming Rugby’s MP in 2010.

The school is non-selective and caters for pupils between the age of 11 and 16.

It has a Good Ofsted rating.