Belfast Telegraph

De La Salle College could lose seven teachers

By Allan Preston

Parents have said they are “horrified” after claims that up to seven teachers are being made redundant at the struggling De La Salle college in west Belfast.

Last night the Concerned Parents of De La Salle group posted a photo of a letter on Facebook dated December 8.

It revealed that teaching staff had been told by the school’s board of governors that they would have to cut five full-time teaching roles to address the “current and future financial situation in the school.”

Staff were invited to apply for voluntary redundancies by December 16.

Last night the Concerned Parents said they believed that as well as the five redundancies, two further senior teachers had agreed redundancy packages and would be replaced by two junior teachers.

Kieran McCormick from the group, who posted the redundancy letter on Facebook last night, called it “absolutely ludicrous” for the board of governors to release so many teachers in March, close to the summer exam season.

The school has frequently hit headlines over the last year after a bitter dispute between management and staff went public.

The concerned parents group also demanded that the school’s board of governors and senior management be removed.

In August last year an independent review was announced into child safeguarding at the school after an incident in October 2015.

An expert panel led by Professor Sir Robert Salisbury outlined serious problems including claims of bullying following leadership difficulties.

It made 40 recommendations, which were accepted by both the Department of Education and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools.

However, Mr McCormick said: “That’s fallen off the face of the earth as though it never happened, there has been no movement or progress on any of them.”

Mr McCormick said the latest redundancy revelation had followed “12 months of turmoil”.

“The school is in serious financial difficulty and the board of governors think this is a good way to prevent further deficit,” he said.

“Parents are absolutely horrified.

“Our sources tell us there will be five redundancies, and two others under a previous scheme (by former Education Minister John O’Dowd) where two senior teachers have apparently already been offered their redundancy packages and will be replaced by junior staff.”

No-one from the school was available for comment last night.

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