‘No guarantee of jobs for middle school staff’

AN ORGANISATION has warned there are no guarantees that teachers at soon-to-be-axed middle schools will be given jobs at its proposed Free School.

Bosses at the Seckford Foundation said they have to go through an ‘open and fair recruitment process’ for the planned Ixworth Free School and could not give any guarantees to staff at Blackbourne, Ixworth or Beyton middle schools, which will close in 2014.

During a meeting with parents at Blackbourne Middle, in Stanton, Graham Watson, director of the Seckford Foundation, said: “We select the best people for the jobs. One of the desirable criteria is that people know their local area and community well.”

He explained that he ‘can’t give any guarantees to the teachers in any schools to hang on’ to see if they’re successful with their bid at the end of the year to open the Free School on the Ixworth Middle site.

Mr Watson said: “That would be a false hope and they need to make a decision about their own career.”

The Seckford Foundation has partnered with a parent-led group to set up the 11 to 16 Ixworth school, which would receive funding directly from the state and be independent of local authority control. The Woodbridge-based charity is also behind proposed Free Schools in Beccles, Saxmundham and Stoke by Nayland and runs the independent Woodbridge School.

During the meeting, parents heard that the secondary school would focus on a ‘traditional curriculum’ and the ‘pastoral system’ with a longer school day.

Graeme Bruce, director of Studies at Woodbridge School, said that in the first year nearly 50 per cent of the timetable would be devoted to English and maths. The curriculum was designed to allow pupils that want to to gain the English Baccalaureate, which is A*-C in English, maths, at least one science, a language and humanities.

The suggested school day would run from 8.30am to 4.35pm with six one hour sessions. A seventh optional session until 5.35pm would deliver extra curricular activities two days a week.