West Leeds: 22 axed at troubled school

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A SCHOOL which has been the subject of mounting tensions is making 22 staff redundant.

Swallow Hill Community College in Wortley – formed from the merger of West Leeds High School and Wortley High School – will instead see more ‘cover supervisors’ being drafted in to cut the bill for supply teachers.

Education chiefs insist the redundancies will not affect standards, and that the cost-cutting is necessary since the merger.

However the school is already on a ‘notice to improve’ from education watchdog Ofsted – and tensions have been rising in recent weeks.

In the most recent incident, a teacher was allegedly punched by a pupil. Four pupils were also excluded after it emerged a fight had been organised via a Facebook site.

A worried staff member told the YEP: “There will be a loss of teaching staff and the result will be more unqualified and often inexperienced staff supervising lessons. A senior member of leadership team was punched in the face today.

“This seems to be the way the school is going, with groups of students wandering corridors during lesson time and ignoring all members of staff. I can’t see that it will improve with less staff.” Gill Knutsson, acting principal at the school, confirmed 22 jobs were being cut and discussions were ongoing with teaching unions to phase these in.

“To reduce the amount of money spent on supply teachers, we will be recruiting additional cover supervisors which will save the school a significant amount of money,” she said. “These are not replacing the teaching posts that will be made redundant.”

She added: “We are acting to raise standards.

“An action plan has been submitted to Ofsted and we are already seeing improvements.

“The majority of pupils are well behaved and behaviour is improving, as noted in our last Ofsted report, but there are a minority of pupils who we are working with to improve their behaviour.

“We will not tolerate any form of violence against staff or other pupils and an investigation is under way into a recent incident in school.”

Freya Kirkpatrick rides her bicycle along a path through a stunning carpet of bluebells in Bow Wood near Matlock, Derbyshire. Picture: F Stop Press Ltd.

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