Nicholas Breakspear staff and pupils promise St Albans school is on the road to recovery
PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 April 2015
Parents, pupils and the leaders of a St Albans secondary school where 10 jobs are to be axed despite successfully taking it out of special measures have launched a strongly-worded defence of the institution.
Staff at Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School in Colney Heath Lane were left devastated when, before breaking for the Easter holidays, they were warned about a looming consultation on job cuts.
One distraught woman under threat of redundancy, who contacted the Herts Advertiser, was particularly annoyed as in November last year Ofsted inspectors confirmed the school’s hard work had resulted in it being taken out of special measures – a status given in late 2013 after a critical report from the education watchdog.
But in a joint statement released this week, chair of governors Linda Graham, executive head teacher Clive Mathew and head teacher Declan Linnane said: “As in many other schools throughout the country, Nicholas Breakspear is required to make very difficult decisions in order to balance the budget for the academic year 2015/16.
“It was with great sadness that governors reached the conclusion that redundancies were necessary, particularly given that the school has been making such good progress.”
The statement went on: “The school has recently moved out of special measures to ‘requires improvement’ in a remarkably short space of time, with two areas judged to be ‘good’.”
Staff are being consulted about the redundancies and once those talks have been completed and proposals approved, details will be shared with parents and pupils.
The statement said governors were, “responding to the needs of the children while ensuring they meet government requirements to produce a balanced budget.
“Throughout the process the aim has to been to ensure the proposals will not affect the quality of teaching and learning; we will endeavour to ensure that every child continues to enjoy an academically challenging experience.”
Nicholas Breakspear is determined to eventually be rated ‘outstanding’.
In a recent monitoring report, an inspector said he was impressed a parent survey showed that 94 per cent of parents confirmed they would recommend the school to others.
The school’s head girl Nicole Kelly, 17, has praised the school, saying: “I am aware of the magnitude of work that every member of staff puts into achieving a commendable Ofsted rating.”
Writing independently of the school to this paper, she said she believes its Ofsted rating will continue to improve.
Nicole, who plans to study English literature at a Russell group university, added: “I have absolute faith in the new head teacher and his fantastic group of dedicated and loyal staff who all have their pupils’ best interests at heart.
“This Easter half term, eight days of revision have been held by teachers to aid pupils who are approaching A level and GCSE exams, compared to the two days previously held this time last year.
“This is just a small example of the work ethic of our teachers and pupils combined. They work tirelessly and devote a majority of their time to their pupils.”