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Background

There are a number of increased cost pressures on schools.   There is an increased employer’s contribution for teachers’ pensions of 2.38% combined with increased employer’s National Insurance contributions for teachers of 3.4%.  When the 1% pay awarded for teachers is added this results in around £500,000 additional staff costs (over 7% of total budget).  There is no new income to pay for these additional costs in 2016/17 and there are also a number of income pressures on the horizon which will affect schools.  Firstly there is a move to a new national funding formula from September 2017 where funding will be based on 30 students per class.  Also metropolitan schools are expected to lose funding. 

In consequence of these increased cost pressures and reduction in revenue Fortismere will go into a deficit budget in 2016/17.  We will be applying to Haringey for a licensed deficit and that application will need to include a plan to return to surplus within 3 years.  On average, schools spend 75-80% of budget on staffing costs.  At the moment Fortismere spends 87% of its total budget on staffing costs.

The school formed a working group comprising of senior school leaders and governors and enlisted the advice of a financial consultant from the headteachers’ union ASCL to come up with a set of recommendations for the school to address the deficit.  These were as follows:

  • To expand our school roll by taking 270 students in year 7 from 2016, along with all children on waiting list in Key Stage 3 (up to a total of 270 students per year group)
  • A reduction of 5 teaching staff (to be met through natural means) from Sept 2016
  • To move from 10 to 9 teaching classes at Key Stage 3 from Sept 17
  • A reduction of 8 teaching staff from Sept 17
  • A restructure of management posts from Sept 17
  • To continue to review support/non-staff costs.

Therefore we would like to outline the following proposals:

From September 2016

  1. There will be a reduction of 5 teaching staff – This will occur through natural movement of staff.
  2. Larger teaching groups at all Key Stages – There will be 27 students per class at Key Stage 3, and Key Stage 4 and 5 classes should be expected to be larger.  The school will be working to ensure that all planning for curricular delivery will take into consideration the increase in student numbers. Small group teaching is to be protected for vulnerable groups and where specialist teaching areas dictate (health & safety).  Additionally educational pathways at Key Stages 4 and 5 are to be protected for vulnerable groups.

From September 2017

  1. There will be an expected reduction of a maximum of 8 teaching staff – This means there is the potential for staff redundancies.  However, the school is keen to avoid redundancies through staff leaving naturally.
  2. Larger teaching groups at all Key Stages – There will be 30 students per class at Key Stage 3, and Key Stage 4 and 5 classes should be expected to be larger.  The school will be working to ensure that all planning for curricular delivery will take into consideration the increase in student numbers. Small group teaching is to be protected for vulnerable groups and where specialist teaching areas dictate (health & safety).  Additionally educational pathways at Key Stages 4 and 5 are to be protected for vulnerable groups.
  3. We anticipate there will be a re-structure of management roles within the school – which will mean the school will need to adjust to a new school leadership and line management model ensuring we preserve our excellent delivery of teaching and learning.

Consultation

There will be a consultation on the following specific proposed changes to take place in Autumn 2016:

  • Increased group sizes (30 students at KS3 from Sept 2017)
  • Restructure of management roles (from Sept 2017)
  • Reduction of number of teaching staff (from Sept 2017)

By the time of the consultation we will have a more detailed proposal for all of the above recommendations

 

FAQs from Our Parents’ Briefing Session, 2nd May 2016

 
Our Staff

What is our recruitment policy on any staff reduction measures?  Will we be selectively recruiting or will we wait for natural movement?

When a vacancy arises due to an employee leaving or moving to a different role, it cannot be assumed that a ‘like for like’ replacement is required. A review of the job description may highlight the fact that the existing role no longer meets current needs. Therefore, the requirements for any replacement or new role will be analysed prior to drawing up the Job Description and Person Specification which define the role, within the whole structure.

What are maximum class sizes across Haringey?  What are the maximum class sizes across London?

In Haringey the agreed maximum secondary school class sizes are currently 27.  In most other London Boroughs this number is 30.

How will you support teachers as their morale could be affected by the increase in class sizes and uncertainty during a period of change?

This is a key priority for the school.  We are keeping our processes as transparent as we can and communicating openly so staff are aware of any changes well in advance.  This is one of the reasons we have taken the opportunity to provide a financial briefing well before moving to any consultation phase.

For how long do you anticipate you will need to keep reducing staff?

Based on current recommendations this plan anticipates staff reduction for the academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18.

What measures are in place to support staff throughout the transition?

The school will be looking at refining school systems to support a streamlining of staff workload.  The school will provide training to support managing the additional workload such adjustments can bring.  The school will also provide coaching for its staff on an individual basis to support those who are affected by the transition.

Are there any moves to ease pressure on teachers by reducing paperwork?

Yes.  There are various impact assessments currently taking place to ensure that paperwork can be kept to the minimum required but ensuring that we preserve good communications and infrastructures that support the delivery of excellent teaching and learning.

Are you working with other schools to see what they are doing to ease pressures on workload?

This is something that we do already do but are likely to seek to collaborate more with other schools on this in the long term.

 

Our Curriculum

What will be the knock on effect of financial issues on the quality of teaching and learning?

It is our priority to ensure that there are no impacts on our ability to offer the same excellent level of quality for our students.  We will be support our staff as they adjust to a new working structure but in the long terms there is little evidence to suggest that students in larger groups attain or progress less well than those in slightly smaller groups

Will any subjects be dropped at Key Stages 4 or 5?  Will all students who have started learning a subject be able to continue?

For a subject to be guaranteed to run at Key Stage 4 we would expect a minimum of 25 students per group and at Key Stage  5 a minimum of 15 students per group.  This is to ensure that teaching groups are financially viable.  Students can continue to study most subjects that they study at Key Stage 3 at Key Stage 4 and 5 but this is not the case for every subject.  It may be the case that a Key Stage 3 subject is popular at Key Stage 4 but there is less interest at Key Stage 5.  This has always been something that we have monitored to ensure that all groups offered are viable.  Students who begin 2 year courses (GCSE, BTEC or A level) will not be asked to discontinue courses before they have completed them, unless they did not get the D grade at AS in Year 12 to progress to Year 13.

Can you reduce the number of hours taught at Key Stage 5 or teach some hours in a lecture style environment?

A level and BTEC (Level 3) subjects have a specified number of guided learning hours that schools must deliver.  Teaching in a lecture style environment is not something that we would want to do at this stage although at Key Stage 5 we do present opportunities for students to learn in larger groups to vary their learning experience and prepare them for higher education teaching styles.  However, the A level specifications do require smaller group teaching and the guidance and support that brings to ensure that students have the best access to these courses.

How will cuts hit various different subjects?

One of the wonderful things about the curriculum at Fortismere is that it is incredibly diverse.  One of the reasons for this is that our cohort of students is attracted to a real breadth of subjects.  We anticipate being able to offer a broad curriculum as long as our students are interested in studying a broad range of disciplines.

What teaching and outside class (additional support) will be withdrawn as a results of these cuts?

This will not be affected.  All students who are entitled to additional support will receive this in the future as they do now.

How long will you need to be increasing class sizes?

The national funding formula will be based on funding class sizes of 30 students so we do not plan to make further increases beyond those proposed for September 2017 from our current position.

 

Increasing Income

Will you be able to realise any money from assets?

No.  The only money we can realise is through the use of our assets in the form of lettings.

Could the swimming pool be seen as an asset?

In its current condition the swimming pool could not be seen as an asset.

Do you use an alumni association to generate income?

We have a very small alumni group and at present it does not generate any income but this is an area we hope to develop in the future.

Could you increase lettings to increase your income?

The potential for increasing our letting is something that we are currently exploring.

Is there the intention to sell part of the school’s grounds for development to raise money?

No, we have no such plans.

 

Our Community

Would you consider asking for voluntary contributions from parents?

This may be something that the school will consider in the future.

How will these developments affect the school’s current ethos?

The cuts should have no impact on the school’s ethos.  It is a priority for us to preserve the identity and culture of our school for all of its community.

What will be the impact on the school canteen of more children trying to eat at lunchtime?

This is something that the school leadership have evaluated carefully.  Systems will be put in place to ensure that students are able to eat within the lunchtime time period.