Staff cuts to stave off Luton school’s predicted £750,000 shortfall

Icknield High School
Icknield High School

A staff consultation is under way as Luton’s Icknield High School looks to make savings to cope with a projected £750,000 two-year budget deficit.

Headteacher Christopher Dean has warned that there is likely to be a £250,000 shortfall in the school’s finances for 2017/18, rising to £750,000 by 2018/19 if cuts aren’t made.

There are over 1,400 students and around 200 members of staff, including support staff, at the school, but teachers have been told their jobs are not at risk.

The consultation began on Monday and runs until May 10, and one member of the support staff, who we agreed not to name, said: “There is a huge deficit growing year on year. On Wednesday we had a meeting with the head and he showed us the finances during a powerpoint presentation.

“Most of the job cuts look like being in support staff as we were told they can’t afford to lose any teachers.

“There are a lot of support staff and we don’t know where we stand as we haven’t been told which areas may be affected. I don’t see how the school can survive losing so many staff. We are the backbone of the school.

“We are oversubscribed every year, we do have a lot of behavioural issues which the support staff deal with. I can see it all spiralling out of control.”

Mr Dean told this website: “In light of current and future funding pressures, and like many other schools across the country, Icknield is having to consider how to make savings to ensure we continue to offer the best possible education for our pupils.

“The school is doing all it can to minimise the impact on pupils and as a result no teacher jobs have been placed at risk. The school has begun a full consultation with all staff, any staff members who may be affected by potential job losses have been notified and no decisions will be made until the consultation has finished.”

The school says the deficit has been caused by number of factors.

Mr Dean said: “These include increases in non-funded expenditure such as apprentice levy, living wage, contributions to pension scheme etc. and indicative loss under the new funding formula of £120,000 per year. Based on indicative budgets and projected costs, the losses could be £250,000 in 2017/18, and £750,000 the following year.

“The presentation to staff came before the consultation began to ensure all staff had access to the same information.”

In January, the NUT released figures which suggested there would be 590 fewer teachers in Luton schools by 2019, thanks to a funding cut worth almost £22million.

It predicted that thanks to the Government’s new funding formula Icknield High School’s budget would in fact be cut by £1.05m by 2019, resulting in a loss of 28 teaching posts.

A spokesman for Luton NUT said this week’s news therefore didn’t come as a surprise. He added: “We trust that Icknield High School will engage positively with trade unions to ensure staff are treated fairly throughout this process and all other alternatives are explored.”