Jobs at risk in school change

Pinderfields Hospital School, Wrenthorpe
Pinderfields Hospital School, Wrenthorpe

JOBS could be axed if a special school changes its legal status in order to hold onto its funding.

A consultation on plans to change Pinderfields Hospital School to a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) will open this summer if Wakefield Council’s cabinet gives approval on Tuesday.

A report to the committee said the school, on Imperial Avenue, Wrenthorpe, was in danger of closing completely due to government funding cuts to special schools.

If the outstanding-rated school stays as it is, it will receive £10,000 per place – just half of what it gets now – when the funding system changes over the next 12 months.

So the council is planning to reopen it as a PRU in April 2013 in order to protect its funding.

But the report said it was likely fewer jobs would be needed at the school after the change, and that if no redeployment options were available staff would be made redundant.

The report said: “It is anticipated that fewer staff will be needed at the PRU than currently work at the school.

“But the option to close Pinderfields Hospital School and open a PRU would offer a financially stable and viable provision which can be delivered at a lower cost than the current school budget.”

PRUs are legally schools and are inspected by Ofsted.

They generally cater for children who cannot attend a mainstream or special school for certain periods due to illness or exclusion.

Sue Johnson, service director for schools and lifelong learning, said: “Pupils that are medically unfit to attend school will continue to receive their education from Pinderfields Hospital School.

“We do not anticipate any of these children will have to move out of the area as a result of these proposals”