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Academy agony for school chiefs

PUBLISHED: 16:20 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:52 24 August 2010

A SCHOOL is closer to crisis after teachers voted in favour of striking if planned job cuts are imposed, the Times has learned. Nine teaching positions are expected to go at the Crest Boys Academy in Crest Road, Neasden, in an attempt to plug a £1.2 mil

A SCHOOL is closer to crisis after teachers voted in favour of striking if planned job cuts are imposed, the Times has learned.

Nine teaching positions are expected to go at the Crest Boys' Academy in Crest Road, Neasden, in an attempt to plug a £1.2 million funding gap which has occurred through a drop in pupil numbers.

Blame for the lack of cash has been placed on the previous school sponsor (John Kelly Boys) with the school Edutrust Academies Charitable Trust (EACT) slating the condition in which they inherited the school.

An EACT spokesman said: "We are, in essence, picking up the pieces of what went before. Our priority is the education and health and safety of students.

"Our focus is getting the academy on a sound footing both financially and in every other respect. We did conduct due diligence, but it was difficult to assess the full impact of all the problems. As we've found subsequently accessing information was difficult.

"Systems and processes at the old school were not robust. It's taken a full external audit to get to the bottom of some of the issues."

The Times understands that teaching union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action if any enforced redundancies take place in an initial ballot last week.

If any strike goes ahead a second vote will have to be taken calling for the action to go ahead and union members were due to meet the school on Wednesday as the Times went to press.

Hank Roberts, NUT and ATL secretary for Brent, lashed out at the plans for redundancy suggesting it was irresponsible to take over a school without establishing the exact circumstances it was in.

He said: "This is not only bad management it is deceitful and disingenuous. I will be going into this meeting seeking assurances that there will be no redundancies."

Brent Council distanced itself from any problems the previous school may have been having, saying it would continue to work closely with EACT.

It also stressed that both Crest Boys and Girls Academies were launched without inheriting any debts.

A Brent Council spokesman said: "We understand the school may experience budgetary difficulties due to falling rolls and the council is working with the Academy on plans for future growth and success including brand new buildings."

alex.wellman@archant.co.uk


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