PARENTS fear Malvern’s biggest school is heading for ‘disaster’ after 14 jobs including three teachers have been axed.
Governors at The Chase announced the redundancies last week which will come into effect at the end of August, stating a decline in the number of young people in Malvern as the reason.
A statement said the school was becoming smaller and had a lower income because the number of students entering Year 7 did not match the amount of pupils leaving the Geraldine Road based academy.
Headteacher Richard Jacobs said if no changes were made The Chase would be facing a £1.8million black hole by 2016/2017 and the redundancies would result in savings of £384,736 a year.
He stressed the school’s finances were ‘stable’ and no further job cuts would need to be made in the foreseeable future.
The announcement comes on the back of Ofsted inspectors declaring the The Chase ‘required improvement’ in February.
Parents have been contacting the Observer in recent weeks expressing concerns over the uncertainty to staff jobs and the future of the school.
One person, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This huge financial deficit should have been spotted years ago and is now coming home to roost. The Chase teaches half of Malvern and its success is vital to the town.
“Teachers haven’t know where the axe was going to fall next, morale has been very low.
“The Chase was always pushing for outstanding but the last few years show a pretty alarming downward spiral of results and children’s life chances have been trashed.
“I love the school but actually truly believe it is heading for disaster.”
Mr Jacobs said the process had been transparent and it was clear from an early stage which jobs were at risk but admitted it had been difficult for those involved.
“The changes have not been considered negative and parents recognise this as a rebuilding exercise which will have positive outcomes.
“The Chase will continue to provide the same high standards but will do so in different ways. The school is on course to achieve the best examination results it has ever seen.”
Parent Emma Seabright slammed the lack of consultation with parents and said decisions had been made ‘behind parents’ backs’.
Mr Jacobs said the process, which had been agreed by trade unions and local authorities, had no role for public consultation.
“The school very much values the magnificent work of each of the members of staff whose roles have been made redundant and we will miss them all.
“However, governors have rightly decided to take those tough decisions to better prepare the school to meet the challenges of the future and put the school on course to become even more successful.”
Here is the full list of redundancies which will come into effect on August 31.
* Three teachers – one from maths, one from music, one from design and technology
* One curriculum leader for outdoors learning
* One alternative curriculum co-coordinator
* One counsellor
* One attendance officer
* Six teaching assistants – all from special educational needs
* One technician
Four of these staff members opted for voluntary redundancy.