Anger over jobs cuts at schools for problem kids in Hackney

Jobs cuts at schools for problem kids in Hackney have sparked anger among campaigners fighting to protect public services in the borough.

Two teachers, two teaching assistants and one social worker will be made redundant under proposals put forward by the Learning Trust to meet a loss of �468,000 in its behaviour unit budget.

The unit deals with children who have been excluded - or at risk of being excluded - from Hackney’s schools. It includes Clissold Park School, in Clissold Road, Stoke Newington, New Regents Vocational College on Nile Street, Hoxton, and an outreach team.

Members of Hackney Unison, the public service trade union, believe the job cuts are unnecessary - and fear they will lead to a poorer quality of education for some of the borough’s most challenging youngsters.

Branch secretary, Matthew Waterfall, said: “We are talking about front line staff who deal with some of the most vulnerable school kids in the borough.

“We could find alternative work for this group of staff which would allow them to continue their excellent work at other schools or settings. Unfortunately the Trust seems unwilling to work with unions on this and that will mean that not only the kids will lose out but also taxpayers who will have to foot the bill for these unnecessary redundancies.”

Union members will meet on May 9 to discuss the possibility of strike action.

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A spokeswoman for The Learning Trust said: “We’ve been working extremely closely with the unions throughout the consultation period, which has not yet concluded, so we are disappointed at their comments to the contrary.

“As discussed with the unions, we would look for redeployment opportunities. We have avoided compulsory redundancies in four cases so far and we are also discussing voluntary redundancy options.

“Pupils will not be affected as we have looked across all settings to ensure we can meet current and anticipated pupil numbers.

“These savings are necessary as a result of the spending cuts and ending of grants.”