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Vauxhall primary school faces backlash over teaching assistant redundancies

As Britain heads into another national lockdown, thirteen staff members at Trinity Catholic Primary School anxiously wait to find out if they will be made redundant.

Six teaching assistants, some of who have worked at the school since it opened in 2004, could potentially lose their jobs on November 23 — just a month before Christmas.

 

The cuts are being made as a result of a reduction in pupil numbers, which has led to less funding.

 

However, questions have been raised over when the school was first made aware of the lack of funding and why nothing more has been done to combat dwindling numbers.

 

Cllr Joe Hanson, who sits on the Chair of Governors at a fellow primary school in Kirkdale, says schools operate on a three-year budget.

 

“The budget’s gone right through the window and, to be honest, I struggle to understand why they have only just recognised that they are short on a budget,” said Hanson.

 

Hanson suspects that parents could be removing their children from Trinity due to an “inadequate” Ofsted report it received last year.

 

But he warns the school must bring change quickly before further funding issues arise.

 

Government figures reveal the current pupil population is at 354. The school can run at a 420 capacity.

 

“Somehow or other, the school needs to change round, whether it’s the leadership they need to change, and I don’t think they will, or the Governor’s body which has to change, and I don’t think they will, or the parents have to start bringing their kids back to school — and that is difficult for the parents,” he said.

 

“It’s always been a community-based school and they are ripping it apart.”

 

Furious parents, who were only informed about the staff cuts during the end of October, are campaigning to save the teaching assistants.

 

Danielle Ashton, who has begun an online petition, is concerned about how children’s mental health will be impacted by the losses.

 

Some of the teaching assistants are trained to deal with children who have difficulties learning.

 

“How will they identify kids with additional needs?” questioned Ashton.

 

“What about all the autistic kids that can’t cope with change? They struggle enough and it will only be made worse. It’s the one structured thing in that school and they are going to change it.

 

“It’s always been a community-based school and they are ripping it apart.”

 

Ashton says that teaching assistants bridge the relationship between parents and the school.

 

“I went the school to pick my daughter up and the teacher didn’t have a clue who I was because the teaching assistant wasn’t there,” recalled Ashton.

 

“When it’s teaching assistants on the door, they know who the parents are. They are the ones that take all the flack when teachers can’t come to the door.”

 

Scottie Press reached out to headteacher Rebecca Flynn but was declined comment.

 

A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “In recent years, Trinity Catholic Primary School has seen a fall in pupil numbers and as a result receives less funding. These factors have meant that the school has needed to undertake an internal staffing review.

 

“As always in situations such as this, Liverpool City Council has been offering support to the school so that it can move towards a sustainable future where it does the very best for the pupils.”

 

Scottie Press has also reached out to the Archdiocese for comment.