WATCH: Protests hit Widley school after redundancies announced

From left, Cowplain School Year 11 prefects Cerys Gamlin, Eleanor Weeks, Ellie Otton and Helena Tuch organised a Bush Tucker trial to raise money for charity

Cowplain pupils do Bush Tucker trial for teenager Beth

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UNIONS have warned further protests will take place if a school does not reverse its move to axe five members of staff.

Members from GMB staged two demonstrations outside Purbrook Park School, in Widley, yesterday.

Nicola Nixon led the protest outside Purbrook Park School Picture: Habibur Rahman (171257-382)

Nicola Nixon led the protest outside Purbrook Park School Picture: Habibur Rahman (171257-382)

Activists from the union stood with banners and flags to protest against the plans by the school to make five non-teaching staff redundant in January.

GMB claims the move is ‘unfair’ while the school says the decision would not affect the quality of teaching at the Park Avenue secondary school.

Nicola Nixon, regional organiser at GMB, said: ‘These redundancies are fundamentally flawed and unfair.

‘This has been going on for months. It’s the finance staff and the site staff who are being affected.

‘Some staff have already chosen to leave. The rest will be made redundant in January if the process goes ahead.’

The union said it had concerns for the welfare of pupils at the school if the redundancies were approved.

Mrs Nixon said the staff who are under threat were involved in operating the school’s minibus service.

The school is looking to continue the service with volunteers, having tried and failed to organise a coach firm to take on the role, GMB said.

Mrs Nixon added: ‘The school says it is trying to make efficiency savings but they are hiring more staff elsewhere. That’s not an efficiency saving. This is just unfair.

‘We will be staged more demonstrations at the school on September 28 if things haven’t changed.’

But the school’s headteacher stressed that the redundancy programme would not affect any teachers at the school.

Paul Foxley also hit out at claims the move could impact the safety of children, saying his school would always remain ‘safe and secure’ for pupils.

Mr Foxley said: ‘I am restructuring back office staff. That affects a small number of non-teaching staff.

‘I want to ensure that every available penny that the school has is available for the education of the pupils at this school.

‘I want to make it clear to all parents and everyone in our community that the restructure will have no impact at all on the children and their education.

‘Our excellent teaching and exam results this year saw 72 per cent of children get at least a grade 4 in English and maths.

‘We will continue to provide this excellent education for the pupils at this school.’

Mr Foxley added concerns volunteers would be running minibus services unchecked were categorically not true.

‘There are no volunteers driving for us,’ he said. ‘I have asked for volunteers, definitely. One person has come forward and is already DBS-checked (disclosure and barring service).

‘Every volunteer would be DBS checked.’

He said the school was working with Hampshire County Council and GMB to ensure the redundancy process was fair.

‘We are following at the process to the letter,’ he said. ‘The process is still going on and we are consulting with GMB.’

The school has about 840 pupils, aged between 11 and 16.