SOUTHAMPTON school staff at risk of redundancy will keep their jobs.

There will be no job losses at Valentine Primary School in Sholing after members of the National Education Union (NEU) at the school and Southampton City Council (SCC) reached an agreement.

Staff members and teachers took strike action in March over claims the school had been told it needed to make significant additional cuts to budgets, which would have meant reductions to teachers and support staff. 

The union said the school was running at a deficit due to funding decisions which had seen it lose £648,000 over four years.

According to NEU, the council has agreed a deficit reduction plan with the school over five years.

This has enabled the school to guarantee no further compulsory redundancies for at least the next two years.

The union also said the 5% cap previously applied to the school’s funding growth – which NEU claimed did not keep pace with the rise in pupils – will not apply this year.

This will give the school additional funds of almost £200,000 compared with last year and avoid any further immediate job losses.

The NEU said it will work with the SCC to highlight the impact of government cuts to funding on schools in the city and will enter into further discussion with the council and Schools Forum about the way the cap is applied in future to ensure schools are not “disproportionately losing out on income, in the way Valentine Primary School has”.

Further meetings are also expected to be held between NEU members, city councillors and headteachers to discuss the impact of government funding cuts on teachers’ workloads.

“This will be with a view to agreeing a workload charter with participating schools. This would introduce a cap on additional hours above those which teachers are contractually obliged to work”, the NEU said.

James Ellis, regional officer, added: “Members voted unanimously to accept this agreement in settlement of the dispute. They took strike action last month because nobody listened to them when they said the proposed cuts would lead to a catastrophic loss of support to many vulnerable children. As always, this was a last resort but, as a result, we now have an agreement which avoids any immediate prospect of further staffing cuts or disruption.Thankfully we were able to agree a sensible way forward with the council, which will ensure all children at Valentine continue to get the support they need.”

Valentine Primary School – which currently teaches 719 pupils – has more children with special education needs (SEN) than the national average, the union claims. 

It said 4.2% of the school’s pupils have education and healthcare plans to support their needs, compared with 1.8% of the national average.