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Jobs to be lost at two city schools amid funding pressures

PUBLISHED: 09:08 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 17 April 2019

Angel Road Junior School in Norwich. Staff at the school and the nearby Angel Road Infant School face redundancy due to financial pressures at the Diversa Multi Academy Trust, which manages the schools. Picture: ARCHANT

Angel Road Junior School in Norwich. Staff at the school and the nearby Angel Road Infant School face redundancy due to financial pressures at the Diversa Multi Academy Trust, which manages the schools. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant Norfolk 2016

Staff at two Norwich schools are set to lose their jobs after funding pressures and falling pupil numbers dealt a financial blow to their managing trust.

The Diversa Multi Academy Trust (MAT) said it had made the “necessary but regrettable decision” to make compulsory redundancies at Angel Road Junior and Infant Schools, known collectively as the Angel Road Federation.

It is understood that up to half of the teaching assistants across the two schools – up to 15 staff – face redundancy and were told of the trust's decision before the Easter holidays.

In a statement Diversa's board of trustees said: “The current national funding issue of reduced school budgets combined with a fall in pupil numbers has forced Diversa MAT into making the regrettable but necessary decision to make compulsory redundancies at the Angel Road Federation.

“This is an unfortunate and unavoidable scenario observed elsewhere in the region and further afield.

“Diversa MAT is working hard to secure a sustainable financial future for its schools against a back drop of challenging times for funding in education.”

The news coincides with a government-mandated pay increase for school support staff, which came into force on April 1.

The Diversa MAT is made up of three schools – its founder school Bignold Primary and the two Angel Road Federation schools, which joined the trust in April 2018.

According to company accounts for Diversa, covering the period from its formation in June 2017 August 31 2018, its schools had a combined total of 1,031 pupils.

For the period the trust had total funds of £3.1m for its educational operations, the majority of which (£2.6m) came its general annual grant (GAG) and other funding from Department for Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Its total staff costs for the year were £2.78m across an average of 50 teachers, 134 administration and support staff and one manager. One member of staff was listed as being paid between £60,001 and £70,000.

The accounts, signed by trust chief executive Clare Jones and chairman of trustees Alicia Howell, said that the board of trustees “has the reasonable expectation that the academy trust has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future”.

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