Parents' anger over decision to axe school depute
Published 29 Jun 2012 09:00 9 Comments
CHILDREN'S learning will suffer because of a "ludicrous" decision to get rid of a teaching position at a Rosyth school.
That's according to parents who have started a petition to reinstate a depute headteacher at St John's Primary.
They are furious the job is to be dropped by Fife Council because the school roll is too small to justify having one.
St John's Parent Group said there was an "undertone of disgust" among mums and dads who fear kids won't be able to enjoy as many out-of-school activities.
Parent Carol Ward said, "The figures just don't add up at all.
"Previously Fife Council said that any school which had over 220 pupils required a headteacher and a deputy head.
"They've now moved the goalposts - any school that's got a role of 260 or under only requires a headteacher. We have a school roll of 240.
"Kings Road Primary School in Rosyth, for example, is going to have a headteacher and three deputes.
"Their school roll is 450 which means each head position is going to have 150 pupils they are responsible for. Yet the headteacher at St John's is going to have 240."
A statement released by St John's Parent Group said, "There is an undertone of disgust in the decision to remove the post of depute headteacher from St John's Primary.
"We feel that this will have an adverse affect on our children to fully participate in out-of-school activities and will also have a negative effect on their education.
"We also feel that there is a failure to recognise the statutory obligations entwined in the Education Act.
"Many parents are contacting us and we intend to escalate our concerns at MP and government level to ensure this ludicrous decision is reversed."
Rosyth councillor Pat Callaghan met the Parent Group earlier this week and both he and fellow Rosyth councillor Mike Shirkie are supportive of the parents.
Mr Callaghan, who is awaiting a report about the decision from councillor Bryan Poole who deals with education for the council, said, "It's a ludicrous decision and I'm 100 per cent behind parents.
"It's conveyed as a done deal, but as far as I'm concerned there's no such thing as a done deal. This is bad for the school and bad for Rosyth."
Around 70 people signed the petition in support of reinstating the position in just one morning recently.
The 'Save St John's Depute Headteacher!' petition, which is now online at ipetitions.com, states, "Other primary schools in Scotland have both a headteacher and a depute headteacher, despite having a smaller school roll.
"The decision to remove experienced teaching staff can only a have detrimental effect on our children's education."
Nearly 50 people have signed the e-petition, many posting comments on the site.
One parent posted, "Mrs Sneddon (depute head) was invaluable when my son moved to St John's in P3.
"I was having a very emotional transition and Mrs Sneddon was very supportive towards me and my young son."
Another posted, "We are all really affected by this bad news. I don't think it's fair on our headteacher to take all that workload all by herself. Please think about this again, it is only a matter of 20 children."
Donna Manson, area education officer, said, "A new Primary Management Structure is being implemented across all Fife schools.
"A range of criteria is used to identify the management structures a school is entitled to.
"These are school roll, nursery pupils and school context based on free school meal entitlement and pupils in additional support needs classes.
"This is regarded to be fair and transparent and was agreed through full consultation with headteachers and trade unions."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Jun 29, 09:38
Ok, how about some clarification here ?
Have they actually made someone redundant, or have they just decided not to fill a vacant position and distribute that workload among existing staff ?
Really don't understand how it's going to have an effect on "out of school" activities.
Please define exactly what an "out of school" activity is.
If you're "out of school", aren't you at home ?
Recommend? Yes 3 No 9
Jun 29, 12:35
B2theB..as usual u miss the point!..read the article properly..the situation is totally unacceptable!......out of school activities are not about kids being at home!....it is about the next Andy Murray....it is about providing extra curricular activities...it is about hopefully we don't produce another ignorant generation like you!....don't like it eh?....
Recommend? Yes 8 No 5
Jun 29, 17:50
I presume the St Johns depute is a teaching depute rather than a position without a class responsibility. I presume also, wrongly maybe, that all the extra-curricular activities are run by this person, which by implication is why everyone will suffer. Let's not forget though that no teacher is compelled to undertake [unpaid] extra-curricular activities, just as there is nothing to suggest that extra-curricular activities cannot be done by parents or outside organisations who are PVG disclosed to work with children. I suspect there is more to defending the retention of this position than just extra-curricular clubs. Little comfort to those affected, however St Johns is certainly not the only school to find itself in this position as of August.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 1
Jun 29, 20:03
So, Redrobin, tell me, why can't one of the other teachers just supervise these extra curricular activities?
Why does it need to be a depute headteacher, who wil lprobably be on a higher salary ?
Do you want to pay extra council tax, or an extra penny on your income tax to make sure every school has the amount of staff parents want ?
Didn't think so.
Maybe, but practical.
Recommend? Yes 7 No 2
Jun 29, 20:06
Oh, and why can't the parents volunteer to do the supervising ?
Why can't the parents make sure that the children join clubs to pursue their interests ?
It's not the school's responsibility to find and nurture the next Andy Murray, (who'll lose, and strop about like a moody teenager anyway) it's the parents.
The state isn't there to raise your kids, only to educate them
Recommend? Yes 13 No 2
Jun 29, 22:25
The Depute at St John's had a non teaching position, but would take classes when the need arose.
I think the out of school activities mentioned were school trips, rather than after school activities, so a bit difficult for parents to supervise if they are at work!
Classe sizes are increasing throughout Fife and as someone earlier posted, St John's is not the only school affected be these changes, I know of at least 3 schools where staffing numbers are being cut.
Losing teachers and having class sizes increasing will have a negative affect on children's education, parents from St John's may have been the 1st to go public with their feelings, but I am sure that they are not alone in how disappointed they are with Fife Councils decision to restructure the management in schools in Fife.
Recommend? Yes 7 No 1
Jun 30, 13:08
Best get used to it .Looking forward to seeing how this new Labour administration is going to put a budget together that requires £80 million to be saved over next 3 years ,but keeps promising to spend money .Class sizes will neeed looked at as will teaching posts .
Sure Gordon Brown will keep his puppets right in how to manage a budget - ho ho.
Recommend? Yes 4 No 2
Jun 30, 15:56
St Johns is unusual then if school trips are accompanied by a member of the school management - I would have thought their time as a manager would be too valuable for such activitites. Usually the class teacher, a first aider and disclosed parent helpers suffice, and would be the norm elsewhere. With regard to the wage saving, a depute will be on 30% - 50% (depending on the number of pupils) above a teacher on the top rate of the pay scale. In many schools who have one non-teaching deputy you could almost pay the wage of two probationer teachers with the same money....
Recommend? Yes 5 No 1
Jul 3, 18:57