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Headteacher seeks resolution to Great Cornard Pot Kiln Primary School's financial challenges as support grows for petition against staff redundancies

A Great Cornard school set to lay off almost half of its teaching assistants has pledged to do it all can to 'alleviate stress and upset' to staff, as support swells for a campaign against the redundancies.

More than 500 signatures have now been collected for a Unison-backed online petition, calling for Pot Kiln Primary School and Suffolk County Council to reverse course on planned cuts to staff.

Fifteen of the 36 classroom assistants and midday supervisors currently employed at the school in Butt Road face losing their jobs.

Pot Kiln Primary School in Great Cornard. Picture: Richard Marsham
Pot Kiln Primary School in Great Cornard. Picture: Richard Marsham

This has been attributed to a previously-unforeseen shortfall in the school’s budget, of approximately £75,000.

Pot Kiln has projected a decline of around eight per cent in student enrolment figures over the next four years, and stated that it currently has more teaching assistants per pupil than other schools.

However, school staff and their trade union claim that those being made redundant are, unfairly, having to 'carry the can' for the school’s deficit.

They also argue that the job losses will impact children’s learning, particularly those with special educational needs, of which Pot Kiln has an above-average number in its pupil population, many of whom work with the assistant staff one-to-one.

The petition against the lay-offs remains active via Unison, with members of the community encouraged to sign it to lend their support.

In response, Pot Kiln Primary School headteacher Laura Jestico stated they are working with all interested parties and stakeholders on how to address the school’s financial difficulties.

She added that they are hopeful of achieving a resolution to the situation in the near future.

“The school and local authority are currently working with staff and their trade union to seek a solution to the financial problem the school is facing,” the headteacher said.

“We are very aware of the negative impact on our staff, and we are trying our best to alleviate staff stress and upset, as far as is possible in this situation.

“We hope to bring this matter to a resolution as soon as humanly possible.

“The school is very grateful to all the staff who continue to put the needs of our children first, and for all organisations and people who are supporting them at this difficult time.”