Parents 'not consulted' on restructuring of Brondesbury Park primary school

Malorees Junior and Infant School 

A consultation has just finished on restructuring Malorees Junior and Infant School - Credit: Google

A petition has been launched over fears the restructuring of a Brondesbury Park primary school may lead to job losses, longer hours and pay cuts.

Maloree Infant and Junior School, in Christchurch Avenue, closed a consultation on Monday (May 17). Although not a requirement, some parents were disappointed they had not been included.  

Helen Smith, acting headteacher at the school, confirmed a "consultation process to ensure that all pupils at the school benefit from the most appropriate support," was under way.

Malorees Junior and Infant School 

A consultation has just finished on restructuring Malorees Junior and Infant School - Credit: Google

The petition, set up "by a passionate parent" is asking for the consultation period to be extended and reached 425 signatures in three days. 

"We are asking the school leadership and governing body at Malorees to abandon these reckless plans to make budgetary savings immediately," the petition states.

"The proposed restructure will negatively and unnecessarily impact everyone at Malorees Infants and Junior School and especially the lowest paid staff and highest needs students.

"All these decisions affect hundreds of children and parents and we have been prevented from being involved," the petition adds. "We know there is no legal right of parents during this consultation but there is a moral imperative."

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According to the petition teaching assistants (TA) will be asked to cover classes which it says is "totally wrong as they do not have teaching qualifications and should only cover classes in emergency short term situations".

Plans mooted could also lead to the scrapping of School Meals Supervisory Assistants (SMSAs) which "endangers children", according to the petition wording which continues: "So many incidents happen during those times. For example choking, accidents that involve forks and knives, trips and falls on chairs and tables. In addition, many children need support at lunchtimes."

Included is also a claim that children with special educational needs and disabilities will lose "essential support and access to education".

They also mention contract changes, redundancies, "less staff and less attention for the children".

Parents were informed on Wednesday last week (May 12) giving them only three working days to respond. "The school only informed us under union pressure. This is unacceptable," they added.

"We ask that the period of consultation be extended and that the NEU recommendations be implemented in full." 

One member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: "On Friday a parent set up a petition to try and persuade the governors to revise the plans and not penalise long standing members of staff.

"Parents were told at the school gate they couldn’t do anything about it, but a passionate parent has got this going at very short notice.

"The TAs were presented with this out of the blue three weeks ago and are very upset and stressed with the possibility of losing their jobs, especially during the pandemic. Many TAs  will have to take a pay cut or work more hours and take on more duties for their wage.

"The new contracts make it hard for part timers to continue in their role. They have gone above and beyond to help the school run smoothly with class bubbles, extra duties and less breaks."

Three unions are supporting staff, including the National Education Union (NEU).

Jenny Cooper , Brent NEU joint district secretary, said: "We have got a number of members who we are supporting in the school and we have sent in recommendations on their behalf in order to protect their pay and conditions. 

"All stakeholders should be consulted when a community school has a restructure and in my view parents are stakeholders and part of the community."

Helen Smith, acting headteacher at the school, did not say whether the restructure was due to a funding deficit in the school, nor mention parent participation.

She said: “Malorees Infant and Junior School is currently going through a staff consultation process to ensure that all pupils at the school benefit from the most appropriate support.

“All staff affected and their trade unions have been involved in the consultation, as per the statutory consultation process and have been given the opportunity to provide feedback on their views.

“Any decisions about how to proceed, will be taken following the consultation.”

To sign the petition click here