Parents and teachers hold demo against Ilford school redundancies

About 100 parents and teachers turned out on Tuesday to support teaching assistants who were made redundant from Woodlands Junior School.

A petition against the redundancies was also passed around which had almost 200 signatures from parents.

Police were called and spoke to demonstrators but there were no incidents.

The 13 support staff and one parent support adviser were made redundant from the school in Loxford Lane, Ilford, last month.

One parent Eddie Crump, 44, of St Francis Way, said: “Lots of people are angry about how they have been treated, it shouldn’t have got to this stage.

“The children are confused and they are asking why the teachers aren’t in school.”

The school was placed into special measures in January 2011 and a new executive headteacher and an associate headteacher were employed in September.

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A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: “The new roles within the new structure at the school are paid at a much higher rate and require a higher level of expertise, experience and skills. The staff were offered a chance to secure these posts through a test and interview process.”

Another concerned over the lack of continuity resulting from high staff turnover is Amina Ali, 34, of Kingston Road. Her son is in Year 5.

Ms Ali said: “There’s not been a permanent teacher for a whole year. One week he had three different teachers and he’s had nine different teachers this academic year.”

The former staff claim their dismissal was “unfair” and they were not properly consulted over the move.

They are represented by the GMB union.

Gahazala Navaid, a former parent support adviser at the school, said: “Fourteen people have been made redundant while there are still jobs at the school. We were invited to a meeting at the school but our union representative wasn’t allowed to come so we didn’t go.”

The council added: “The trade unions were involved with the consultation process and a trade union representative was present at those meetings.

“However staff chose not to attend all meetings.”