DOZENS of staff at the troubled St Aldhelm's Academy could be made redundant in a major shake-up due to take place in September.

Vice Principals and senior teaching staff are among those whose jobs are at risk under a new structure set to come into play for the new academic year.

The academy was recently served with a financial notice to improve by the government.

The Daily Echo has learned that staff were warned in April that more than 30 posts were to go by the then Principal Cheryl Heron.

Last week Ms Heron left her post without warning, to be replaced by interim head Monica Cross.

Mrs Cross has called a halt to the redundancy process started by her predecessor but is now working on a replacement.

She said: “The staff will be reduced - the school has been over-staffed. It will all be done appropriately and properly.”

Mrs Cross was due to talk to staff last night - Monday June 2 - and detailed proposals will go out to staff and teaching unions soon.

The original proposals were for more than 30 posts to be made redundant with 18 new posts created.

Documents also outlined changes to the school day and the curriculum including moving from a 30-hour teaching week to a 25-hour teaching week.

Students will finish school at 3.30pm on Mondays, 2.30pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 1pm on Wednesdays if the proposals go ahead.

There will also be changes to Key Stage groups due to national changes to exams.

A consultation document given to staff said: “Due to the continuing serious nature of the academy's financial position and the continued low number on roll, there is a need to radically review our structures.

“There are new posts available in the new structure and we will make every effort to appoint present academy staff to these posts.”

Chair of Governors Tony Moore sent a letter to parents before the half term break, stressing the school's commitment to its pupils.

He said: “Monica Cross, a very experienced Principal, has been appointed by the governors and sponsors as Principal until new sponsors take over the academy.

“She has already started to work with staff, sponsors and governors to ensure that every young person at St Aldhelm's gets the quality education they deserve. This will be our total focus over the next few months.”

And he told the Echo: “Funding is given by the government based on the number of children in the school. Forecasts were made that the numbers would increase but that has not happened. The academy is over-staffed.”

He said start-up funding allocated when it first became an academy has also come to an end.

St Aldhelm's Academy history

St Aldhelm's Academy was launched on the site of the former Rossmore Community College in 2010.

Independent of local authority control, the aim was to improve the school's dismal reputation and exam results which put it near the bottom of national league tables.

But just a year later it officially recorded the worst exam results in the country with just three per cent of its pupils gaining the national benchmark standard of at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and maths.

Since then results have improved but last year's figure of 31 per cent left the academy in the bottom 50 secondary schools in England and the worst in Poole, Bournemouth or Dorset.

Earlier this month the Daily Echo revealed how staff at St Aldhelm's fell prey to an email scam, losing more than £1million. The scam is at the centre of a major police investigation.

Around £1.1 million was withdrawn from a school account after staff gave away access codes to criminals posing as bank officials.

It has since been served with a financial notice to improve by the Department for Education and must now submit a detailed action plan outlining how it will improve its finances.

The scam is believed to be connected to the rebuild of the school and the money was due to be paid to developers Kier.

The firm carried out a £9.8 million redevelopment of the school last year with pupils and staff moving into state-of-the-art new accommodation last September.

The academy is currently sponsored by Bournemouth University and the Diocese of Salisbury but there are moves to make it part of a larger academy chain.

Posts identified for redundancy by former principal Cheryl Heron:

  • Two Vice Principals
  • Four Teaching and Learning Co-ordinators
  • Four Progress Managers
  • Two Advanced Skills Teachers
  • Three Lead Teachers
  • Alpha Provision Co-ordinator
  • e-learning Co-ordinator
  • Assistant Inclusion Manager
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Exams Officer
  • Finance Manager
  • Business Support Services Manager
  • Learning Resource Centre Assistant
  • Environment and Technology Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Site Manager
  • Student Receptionist
  • 6.5 teaching staff
  • Two days of School Games Organiser time

New posts suggested by Cheryl Heron:

  • Assistant Vice Principal
  • Two Key Stage heads
  • Four Leaders of Learning Areas
  • Head for Year 7
  • Alternative curriculum Co-ordinator
  • Operations Manager
  • Finance Officer
  • Two Premises Staff Cleaning Supervisor
  • Network Manager
  • Quality Assurance and Exams Officer
  • Student Receptionist/Attendance
  • Marketing Officer