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Jobs will be lost at Forest of Dean school as a result of falling student numbers

By The Citizen  |  Posted: July 08, 2014

The Dean Academy, Lydney

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JOBS will be lost at the Dean Academy as a result of falling student numbers, its headteacher has confirmed.

The Lydney-based secondary school had 1,065 pupils four years ago but that figure is expected to drop to only 740 in September.

Headteacher David Gaston said it is too early to say how many staff will be made redundant but said it has nothing to do with the recent withdrawal of sponsorship.

Mr Gaston said: “We are making redundancies as all schools do; it is part and parcel of being a large employer.

“This has nothing to do with Prospects Academies Trust and nothing to do with the removal of sponsors. It is completely because of having fewer students at the academy than in the past.

“There are fewer students coming through primary schools and entering secondary schools at the moment and if you have fewer students there is less funding and sometimes you have to lay people off.

“We have not had significant redundancies in the last 11 years I have been here and that is incredibly important.”

Parents raised concern over the future of the Church Road school after a business services company pulled its support earlier this year.

Prospects Academies Trust withdrew its funding from Lydney and Gloucester Academy after it experienced a “very difficult” year supporting centres which are spread out over a large area.

Parents were concerned changes would result in disruption to their child’s learning.

Councillor Alan Preest, county councillor for Lydney, said he has been approached by worried parents who feel they have been left in the dark over the school’s future.

He said: “What the school has not done and what I think they need to do is to put out a definitive statement about what is happening.

“I am getting asked the question when I stroll around the town, especially by parents of prospective students.

“I think Mr Gaston is an excellent headteacher but we need a definitive statement to allay the fears of students who are sitting crucial exams over the next few year and parents who are thinking of sending their children there in the autumn.”

One person, who did not want to be named, said cutting staff numbers is a serious concern which will result in further setbacks.

“Staff have worked hard to improve performance at the school and meet the goals set by the leadership team,” they said. “It is totally unfair to reward their efforts by sacking them.”

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