Rye College staff balloted on strike over proposed ‘cuts’
Staff at Rye College could go on strike over proposed ‘cuts’.
The National Education Union (NEU) said it has begun to ballot its members at the college over a restructure consultation that it said will drastically narrow the curriculum.
A public meeting has been set up on Zoom next Wednesday (May 26) from 7pm, that parents, students and concerned community members can attend to discuss the plans.
A petition set up by parent Daryl Devlia calling on Rye College to ‘not reduce their performing arts curriculum’ has already collected more than 1,500 signatures.
The NEU said the school has proposed a restructure due to a forecasted deficit in the school budget, which it claims is due to reduced pupil numbers.
However, the union added there are concerns the restructure proposed will ‘significantly’ reduce the provision of non-core subjects, such as drama, dance, design and technology, food technology and technical support for art.
Phil Clarke, secretary of East Sussex NEU, said: “Industrial action is always a last resort for our members, but they are united in their opposition to this restructure of their school that not only threatens jobs but also the quality and breadth of education students will receive.
“Children in this area deserve better than a curriculum that cuts out key technology and arts subjects.
“We are also very worried parents will vote with their feet and the school will lose further pupils rather than gain them. This would lead to a worse funding situation if the Aquinas Trust don’t offer a broad and balanced curriculum.
“The level of engagement in the petition that has sprung up suggests to me that parents value a wider education than simply the core subjects.
“We are asking the school to look again at their proposals and find ways to seriously reduce the impact this will have on the future sustainability of the school.”
Rye College is managed by Aquinas Academy Trust.
Barry Blakelock, executive headteacher, said the college was currently consulting with colleagues on ‘how best to secure the national curriculum and other statutory subjects’.
He added: “As with anything of this nature, we would first consult colleagues before inviting the views of other stakeholders if any substantial changes were proposed. This process ensures our school remains strong and stable going forward and no one should be unduly concerned.”
To register for next Wednesday’s public meeting, visit tinyurl.com/SaveRyeCollege.