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Saturday, 19 April 2014

38 Furness Academy staff members could lose jobs in August

THIRTY eight staff members at Furness Academy have been told they could be losing their jobs.

Principal and chief executive at the Barrow school Douglas Blackledge broke the news to the support staff at a meeting on Thursday afternoon.

The redundancies are being driven by the merger of the academy’s two sites at Thorncliffe Road and Park Drive.

The positions of catering staff, facilities management, clerical and administration, curriculum technicians and student support workers are all affected.

The posts of seven dinner ladies, seven cleaners and four kitchen workers are understood to be among the jobs at risk.

Voluntary redundancies are being sought and management at the academy have stressed that as the consultation phase continues “if suitable alternative opportunities arise during the notice period vulnerable staff will be considered first’’. A letter sent to workers says staff will be paid until the end of August. The main reason given in the letter was the imminent amalgamation of the North and South Sites.

“Unfortunately, despite these additional cost-cutting measures, the pressures on staffing levels is such that there is no known alternative to the proposed redundancies,” the letter read.

The latest redundancies follow a senior leadership restructure and redundancy programme last term to reduce staffing in these areas by 30 per cent.

Construction on the £22.5m project to bring the school’s 1,200 students under one roof at Park Drive began last May.

The state-of-the-art facility is expected to open in September. Stephen Forbes, of the GMB union in Barrow, was present at the meeting on Thursday.

He commented: “We will be working alongside our members and the academy in the consultation period to try and mitigate any losses and to help and advise the members along the way.’’

In a statement, Mr Blackledge said: “It is with deep sadness and regret that we have to announce these redundancy proposals as part of our merger to a single site brand new facility in September.

“The staff affected, whoever they specifically transpire to be in the end, are all good people who have showed great commitment and professionalism in their work to date at the academy.

“I feel tremendous compassion and sorrow for the affected staff and their families, as do our sponsors, governors and those staff fortunate enough not to be facing this very difficult but unavoidable situation."

Have your say

I was made redundant by the academy over two years ago at a time when I had two young children. One one hand the worry about making ends meet is awful but on the other my stress levels are so much lower. All the money in the world can't buy your health. I now do supply teaching and am so much happier.

Posted by Ex- Furness academy languages teacher on 29 January 2013 at 15:08

I sympathise with the academy staff who may be losing their jobs at such a difficult time. I understand the Principal needs to make such difficult decisions which can't be easy for him. However, does the fact that Mrs Blackledge is now a full time senior member of staff not make the decision making process even more complex.

Posted by Gareth Llewellyn on 29 January 2013 at 11:15

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