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Slash in City of London Academy Islington hours down to “government cuts”

The City of London Corporation say the changes would not compromise the quality of education for students

23 May, 2019 — By Emily Finch

City of London Academy Islington in Prebend Street

THE TOWN hall chief for education has said the proposed reduction in teaching hours at a secondary school is a “clear result of government cuts”.
Parent of students at City of London Academy Islington (COLAI) in Angel have been asked to give feedback on the proposed reduction of hours at the school in by half an hour.

Under the proposed changes, the school will start from 8.40am compared to the current 8.30am and the school day will end at 3pm not 3.40pm from September.

The school blamed “national public sector spending cuts and staffing pressures arising from a crisis in teacher recruitment” for the changes in a letter sent home to parents addressed from the principal Ms Sonia Jacob earlier this month. The consultation for the proposed changes at the school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, ends on Friday.

Town hall chief for education Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “This is the clear result of the government’s cuts to schools further compounded by last year’s new educational funding formula. Problems with the recruitment of teachers is an increasingly concerning issues. With constant educational reform and increased examinations introduced by the government, entering and staying in the teaching profession is a very difficult choice for many.”

Cllr Kaya Comer- Schwartz

The school, which is sponsored by the City of London Corporation and City University, said that the changes in hours will provide “multiple benefits” including “reducing the number of lessons being covered by temporary supply staff” and “offering our students an improved after-school enrichment and intervention programme”.

Ken Muller, the spokesman for the Islington branch of the National Education Union (NEU) who used to teach at the school before it became an academy ten years ago, said the school was reverting back to the same hours as it had before being converted into an academy.

Ken Muller, the spokesman for the Islington branch of the National Education Union (NEU)

He said he “welcomed” the changes because it would bring it in line with other local schools. But he added: “We are, however, concerned that the change is being made, according to a letter the head teacher has sent to parents and carers, “in light of national public sector spending cuts and staffing pressure arising from a crisis in teacher recruitment” – especially if the reduction in the number of lessons is aimed at reducing staffing at COLAI or results in an increase in school workload.”

“We will be seeking further clarification from the school and consulting our members there in the coming days and once we have done this, we will be able to reach a decision as to whether the changes as currently proposed are acceptable to us.

“We would wish to make clear, however, that the NEU will firmly oppose any changes which result in cuts in jobs and/or educational provision at COLAI and consult our members about what action they would be prepared to take to resist them.”

A spokeswoman for The City of London Corporation said: “The proposed change would not compromise the quality of education for our students. Instead, it would offer them an improved after-school enrichment programme.”

What do you think? Write in a letter to Letters@IslingtonTribune.com 

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