Job losses warning amid proposal to merge two Hastings schools

ARK William Parker Academy. SUS-160920-151937001
ARK William Parker Academy. SUS-160920-151937001

Redundancies have not been ruled out following proposals to merge two secondary schools.

Last week education chiefs at Ark revealed that they want to make Ark William Parker and Ark Helenswood Academies into one co-educational school.

A consultation by Ark, which runs both schools, opened yesterday (Tuesday, September 18).

If the proposals are approved by the Department for Education the new school would come into existence next September.

Ark is proposing that the new school be called Ark St Helen’s Academy.

The school would run across two sites, with Years 7 and 8 based at the Helenswood Lower Site, and Years 9 to 11 plus the Sixth Form at the William Parker site.

Ark said it is intending to invest a further £6m across the two sites.

It added if the proposals to merge William Parker and Helenswood went ahead there would be a consultation with staff early next year.

Ark said both schools currently had too few students and, given the current pupil roll, there ‘may be some redundancies’.

But Ark pledged it would work ‘closely’ with unions and aim to keep any redundancies ‘to a minimum’.

A consultation document was given to parents on Tuesday outlining the plans.

In it, Yvonne Powell, executive principal, said: “Both Helenswood and William Parker need to address challenging financial issues.

“The schools are under subscribed and require significant investment in their buildings, which are currently spread across three sites. This is not sustainable, and continuing to operate under these financial constraints will make it increasingly difficult to provide the standard of education we want for our students.”

The consultation runs until October 30. Visit hastingsconsultation.org.