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Possible staff cuts tabled by academy trust leaders

PUBLISHED: 17:14 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:30 12 September 2019

Ormiston Victory Academy at Costessey. Leaders at Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs 11 schools in Norfolk and Waveney, debated a staff restructure at a board meeting in March.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ormiston Victory Academy at Costessey. Leaders at Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs 11 schools in Norfolk and Waveney, debated a staff restructure at a board meeting in March. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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An academy chain with schools in Norfolk has tabled a potential staff reshuffle which could affect more than 250 jobs.

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. Leaders at Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs 11 schools in Norfolk and Waveney, debated a staff restructure at a board meeting in March. Picture: Mick HowesOrmiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. Leaders at Ormiston Academies Trust, which runs 11 schools in Norfolk and Waveney, debated a staff restructure at a board meeting in March. Picture: Mick Howes

Leaders at Ormiston Academies Trust discussed a possible restructure - which would shave £1.54m off its £6.57m payroll - at a board meeting in March.

Minutes from the meeting, released under the Freedom of Information Act, said 259 staff would be affected by the changes and consultations with principals were ongoing to ensure the new model would be "workable".

But the minutes indicate some disquiet over the proposed restructure, with Paul Hann, chairman of the board of trustees, describing it as "high risk".

A spokesman for Ormiston Academies Trust said: "No decisions have been taken on whether there will even be a consultation on this.

"The discussions related to back office functions only, not teaching and learning positions."

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Birmingham-based Ormiston has 11 academies across Norfolk and Waveney including in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Founded in 2009, it is one of the oldest and largest multi-academy trusts in England, with 29,000 pupils in 30 secondary schools, seven primary schools and one special school.

It developed from the Ormiston Trust, a national charity founded 50 years ago with the goal of improving young people's life chances.

The fact that a behemoth such as Ormiston is considering such a large reduction in its staff budget reveals how far the pressures on school funding are starting to reach.

Government-funded schools - both academies and those maintained by local authorities - are suffering under increasing budget pressures, with many now having little choice but to consider redundancies after cutting extra-curricular services, resources and even in some cases subjects.

Some smaller trusts such as Diversa Multi-Academy Trust in Norwich have sought our mergers with larger organisations for greater financial stability.

In April it was revealed that Diversa was considering cutting a third of its teaching assistant posts at Angel Road Junior and Infant Schools as well as cutting teaching assistant hours by around 30pc at its founding school Bignold Primary in a bid to shore up its finances.

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