Home > Education, information, newspaper stories, politics, young people > Troubled school hit by financial crisis – Durham Federation – From The Northern Echo

Troubled school hit by financial crisis – Durham Federation – From The Northern Echo

A CRISIS-hit federation school that was plunged into special measures just two years after being hailed the most improved in the country has hit a financial crisis, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Trevor Dunn, the principal at the Durham Federation, has written to staff and trade unions spelling out the need for “significant savings” to balance the budget.

Mr Dunn appealed for money saving ideas, including expressions of interest in early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

However, suggestions at least 15 jobs will be axed across the two schools, Durham Community Business College (DCBC) in Ushaw Moor and Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston, have been dismissed as premature.

 MP Kevan Jones, whose North Durham constituency covers Sacriston, said the development was alarming and the federation should be taken out of local authority hands and turned into an academy as quickly as possible.

However, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, whose Durham City patch includes Ushaw Moor, said while it was very unfortunate, decisions on the federation’s future should not be rushed.

The Unison trade union, which represents many school staff, said it would be inappropriate to comment.

 In a statement, Mr Dunn said: “I have sent a letter to staff and trade unions outlining the need for the federation to make significant savings to balance its budget.

“The letter is clear that at this stage we are asking for suggestions or ideas to reduce spending, which could include expressions of interest in early retirement/voluntary redundancy, a reduction in hours, job sharing or new ways of working.”

He added: “I would like to stress that we are at the very early stages of this process and we will listen carefully to all suggestions before making any further decisions.”

The federation, the first in County Durham back in 2006, has suffered a remarkable fall from grace. Just two years ago, Fyndoune was the most improved secondary school in the country and DCBC was given £650,000 to pioneer vocational education with the region’s first Studio School sixth form.

 Subsequently, it lost three headteachers, including Anne Lakey who is facing child six charges, and a surprise Ofsted inspection in September led to the federation being put into special measures, the closure of its sixth form, the resignation of its chair of governors and its emergency conversion into an academy.

Mr Jones said the conversion must happen as quickly as possible to minimise uncertainty for staff and families – and with a sponsor other than Durham County Council, which he accused of dragging its feet over the school’s leadership problems.

Dr Blackman-Woods linked the budget deficit to the school’s management problems but said she hoped compulsory redundancies could be avoided.

Troubled school hit by financial crisis – From The Northern Echo

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