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Fears over Shouldham primary school 'restructuring' proposals

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Parents say they have been left confused and worried by potential job cuts at a West Norfolk village school.

Officials at the St Martin at Shouldham Primary Academy say teaching assistants and office workers are being consulted on a “restructure”, which may see overall staff numbers reduced.

But parents who have contacted the Lynn News this week want clarity about what is being proposed and what it might mean for their children.

St Martin at Shouldham Primary Academy. Picture: Google (56476505)
St Martin at Shouldham Primary Academy. Picture: Google (56476505)

One concerned parent said: “It’s not a business. It’s a primary school. Surely the children are going to suffer.”

Asked what the mood was among parents, she added: “They’re all really confused. They’re asking the class teachers and the class teachers don’t know.”

Another called for help to “save our school”, adding: “The children have already had their learning disrupted through Covid and I am worried this will impact education further.”

Fears have also been expressed that changes could see a reduction in support for pupils with special educational needs.

The parents spoke out after receiving a letter from the school, which is part of the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), on Tuesday.

The letter, seen by the Lynn News, said: “We need to consider this now due to significant budgetary constraints, meaning that the current structure is unsustainable in the short and long term.”

A total of 14 classroom support and wrap-around care staff are currently listed on the school’s website, plus three administrative workers.

A DEMAT spokesman said yesterday: “We are consulting on a proposal that will enable the school to align the staffing structure with a modern, smaller, rural school and address budgetary pressures arising from the existing structure.

“We appreciate that this has caused concern within the school community, but rest assured that the pupils’ education is at the forefront of our minds and we are working with affected staff to understand their views and suggestions on the proposal.”

The consultation period is due to end next month and the trust insists all views received will be taken into account.

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