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'You're flaking a mistake', school trust warned in Shouldham ice cream protest



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A West Norfolk village's ice cream man has warned school leaders they would be "flaking" a big mistake if they proceed with potential staff cuts.

Wayne Rees, who runs the Reesey's Ice Cream Truck with his wife Emma, delivered the cold message in a protest on the village green in Shouldham.

Fears have been raised over the future of the St Martin at Shouldham Primary Academy after a consultation process there was confirmed two weeks ago.

Wayne Rees (front left) with the Banner he has had made in protest to changes for St Martin at Shouldham Church of England.Voluntary Aided Primary Academy, along with others at the Village Green on Friday May 13th 2022. (56665188)
Wayne Rees (front left) with the Banner he has had made in protest to changes for St Martin at Shouldham Church of England.Voluntary Aided Primary Academy, along with others at the Village Green on Friday May 13th 2022. (56665188)

The Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), which runs the school, said it was consulting teaching assistants and office staff on what it termed a "restructure" which could see the number of roles reduced.

But the number of roles under threat is unclear and there have been calls to "save" the school

Mr Rees said the aim of the protest was to raise wider public awareness of the issues in order to achieve greater clarity from the school and trust.

He said: "Unless we start getting people moving their feet in terms of going to the school, trying to get answers and a solution to the problem, it will just go under the carpet.

"It will put more pressure on teachers and will impact on the quality of learning for students."

Mr Rees said the protest banner had been well received by both other parents and staff who are affected by the current proposals.

A petition against any potential cuts is also expected to be launched soon.

Mr Rees said his family had moved to the village "for the school" which became an academy under DEMAT sponsorship in 2014.

The school was rated as outstanding in its last recorded Ofsted inspection the previous year, prior to the academy switch.

DEMAT claims the school's current staffing structure is not sustainable because of what it describes as "significant budgetary constraints".

But Mr Rees said the trust was not disclosing information about the school's financial position and rumours were circulating.

A DEMAT spokesman said yesterday: “The consultation with several staff at St Martin at Shouldham Primary Academy about a proposed restructure of classroom-based staff and the office team is still underway.

“If agreed, this may lead to a reduction in the number of school support and office staff within the school.

“As part of the consultation, all feedback and views are being collated, and at its conclusion, an update will be provided to staff and parents.

“We want to ensure that the school community is kept informed as we appreciate that the consultation has caused concern.

“All feedback can be shared via feedback@demat.org.uk until the consultation ends on June 9.”



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