Teachers meet over schools plan

AXIOUS WAIT: Teachers and support staff from CLeckheaton's schools during a meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall in November.
AXIOUS WAIT: Teachers and support staff from CLeckheaton's schools during a meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall in November.
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ANXIOUS teachers and support staff have been given assurances about job security during the reorganisation of Cleckheaton’s middle schools.

Scores of people attended a meeting at Birkenshaw Middle School on Monday evening, where Kirklees Council officers talked them through the practicalities of the move away from a three-tier to two-tier school system.

National Union of Teachers (NUT) general secretary in Kirklees Howard Roberts said the council needed to get the restructuring right, or else large numbers of teachers could be lost to jobs in other schools.

“I think there’s a high degree of anxiety by people and that is also shared by our union,” he said.

“There’s an enormous amount of work ahead of the council and I can’t pretend that our members are not worried.”

During the meeting the staff were talked through the council’s HR framework, which Mr Roberts hopes will reduce the chances of compulsory redundancies.

He added: “The danger is a complete flight of staff moving to other jobs, in other schools, before the changes take effect. Talks are on-going with the authority, who say there are enough jobs for everyone in the re-organsation.”

As well as teachers, up to 70 support staff – from office staff to caretakers – are also feeling uncertain over their future.

Unison Kirklees senior shop steward for education Mike Forster feels his members’ needs have been ‘overlooked’ by the council.

He said: “Teachers have been allowed to visit other schools and go through a training audit, while our members haven’t. It’s something we’re looking at as a matter of urgency.

“We’re asking the council to take training and redeployment more seriously and allow our members to look at vacancies across the council, not just in schools.”