Thornton Primary School cutting teachers as admissions drop

A BRADFORD primary school is cutting the number of teachers it employs, as new pupil admissions are expected to drop by a third in the next few years.

Thornton Primary School, in Thornton Road, has revealed the funding it receives from the Government has been slashed due a decrease in the number of pupils on roll and the forecast for births in the area.

The school currently has three classes for every year group (three form entry), with 583 pupils on the school roll at the time of its last Ofsted inspection in January this year.

Around 90 new pupils are accepted to join Thornton Primary each academic year at the moment, but the planned admission number is set to be reduced to 60.

This could result in a loss of some teachers at the school, with one parent claiming this process is already underway.

A school spokesperson said: “Due to changing demographics in the local area, there are increasingly lower numbers of children currently attending Thornton Primary.

“Looking at the forecast of children born who will possibly be attending Thornton over the next few years, it is obvious that this trend will continue.

“As a result, the funding we have been allocated from the Government has decreased and is too low to sustain the number of teachers that we currently employ, which serves much higher numbers of children.

“The number of children attending and forecast to attend over the next few years is not indicative of the current planned admission number of 90 and a consultation to reduce this number to 60 is currently underway.”

The school said a consultation on redundancies was not currently underway.

A mother of a pupil at the school said the move had left some parents concerned, and a number of complaints had been made after changes to classes were introduced at the start of the autumn term.

The mother, who did not wish to be named, claimed three of the year groups had been dropped down to two classes, with roughly 36 pupils in each, and staff had already left.

She described the situation as obscene, and said that social distancing would be difficult given the new structure.

The mother said: “Three year groups have been dropped to two classes.

“A member of staff left on Thursday, October 22.

“Class sizes, generally speaking in every school, will not go above 32.

“This is 36 in a class.”

President of the National Education Union (NEU) in Bradford, Ian Murch, said no primary school should need to have classes of more than 30, with the amount of funding they get.

He said: “The number of primary-aged children in Bradford is going down. It’s a national picture, there’s no getting away from it. Fewer school places are needed. It’s hard to predict actually where you need the places in advance, that’s a problem.

“You have some idea of how many children are born in different areas of Bradford – they build an area plan based on that. Sometimes they get it wrong because of the movement of the population, so you’re not able to predict.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News