Pupil fall leads to staff cuts at King Solomon

By Robyn Rosen, March 18, 2010

King Solomon High School in Redbridge is planning staffing cuts in response to falling admissions. And the redundancy procedure has been criticised by trade unions, who claim they were not formally consulted.

In recent years, year seven enrolment figures have dropped by more than 20 per cent - from 157 in 2005 to 122 in 2009, which included seven non-Jewish pupils.

Redbridge Council provides £3,069 funding per year seven pupil. A King Solomon teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity, alleged that the school had continued spending as if at full capacity. "They should have put measures in to save money." The council has to date opposed applications from the school to downsize from five forms to four.

A report published by the Jewish Leadership Council last week suggested two options for King Solomon - reducing pupil numbers or recruiting non-Jewish children to keep up income levels. It warned that a reduction in enrolment could affect the quality of the curriculum.

"Running an attractive curriculum requires good levels of funding and the principal route to this is through maintaining available places and increasing enrolments.

"Deliberately to reduce income, which will be a direct result of reducing intake, puts at risk the breadth of curriculum that can be offered."

National Union of Teachers, Unison and GMB officials met with the school last week to demand more information about its financial situation.

NUT regional officer Anne Mallach said: "There are proposals for redundancies and we are engaging with the school as part of the consultation process. The NUT has asked for clarification on the reasons for the financial shortfall. There should have been formal consultation with the trade unions.

"Initially the consultation was carried out with the lay reps - they were informal conversations."

Headteacher Spencer Lewis said no redundancies had yet been made. "Until now we have maintained all our staffing but now need to align our staffing with our student numbers.

"We will do this with full attention to the needs of our students while keeping in sight the strategic overview of moving forward." Declining admissions reflected "the very large increase in Jewish school places available in north-west London. Children who would have happily joined King Solomon now attend the enlarged JFS and Yavneh, although King Solomon remains the overwhelming choice for Jewish families in north-east London."

Last updated: 3:45pm, March 18 2010