Parents at a Greenwich school are seeking answers, after the headteacher announced a budget deficit of more than £400,000 and 11 teachers under threat of redundancy.

In a letter to parents last month, headteacher at the John Roan, Nadine Powrie, said the school must reduce the staffing level and adjust the curriculum on offer to tackle the deficit, leading to fears over cuts to the vocational subjects.

Parents and teachers said the announcement at the Maze Hill based school came as a surprise, as the school began consulting on a three-year restructuring plan.

Pete Sinclair, a parent to two John Roan pupils, claims he has repeatedly asked the headteacher, governing body and the council for a detailed breakdown of the budget, which has been refused.

The 56-year-old told News Shopper: “I have tried to reach out to the governors and say look, please can we just have a meeting.

“They said to me the earliest we can meet you is April 15 - the end of the consultation period.

“Anything we say can’t impact on the consultation.

“They just blatantly refuse to give us the details of their budget.”

News Shopper:

There's a budget deficit at the John Roan in Maze Hill, Greenwich.

John Roan recently came under fire after its governing body created a working group to consult on the possibility of becoming an academy.

After opposition from parents and teachers threatening two days of strike action, Ms Powrie confirmed the school would not adopt academy status for at least six months.

In a statement on behalf of the John Roan, a spokesman said the deficit was due to fewer students joining the sixth form over the last two years, as well as rising costs.

He said: “The new headteacher joined the school in September, after the 2015/16 budget had been agreed.

“When the full extent of the projected deficit became apparent, the headteacher submitted recovery proposals to the local authority.

“The proposals will return the John Roan to a sound financial footing over the next three years.”

Greenwich Council has approved the £438,000 loan to balance John Roan’s budget over three years.

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The John Roan Resists group protesting outside Woolwich town hall.

Writer Mr Sinclair is concerned the school will become an academy in all but name, with a focus on box-ticking and a results-driven curriculum.

One of his sons is currently studying A level politics – one of the courses reportedly under threat.

Mr Sinclair wants the schools governing body and headteacher to stand up to the government’s push to academise all schools by 2022.

He said the variety of subjects, vocational options and sporting opportunities is one of the things he loves about John Roan.

Mr Sinclair said: “It’s this thing about the obsession with results, that’s what the government want everything to be about.

“You just think, wow what an experience and education they have had - that’s been really, really valuable.

“I honestly and genuinely think that these things will stay with them for longer.

“I value that more than them getting straight A*s.”


The John Roan National Union of Teachers (NUT) sent a letter to members detailing the proposed cuts, including 17 teaching posts leading to 11 teacher redundancies, a narrowing of the humanities subjects, less GCSE options and larger classes.

The school is now going through a consultation period on the restructure, which is due to end on April 14.

The school’s statement continued: “The primary concern of the Headteacher and the Governing Body is to act in the best interests of the students of the John Roan School.

“The recovery proposals reflect that concern and are designed to minimise disruption to students’ education, while also bringing the school back to a secure financial position.

“The proposals have been approved. The school leadership, governing body, teachers, unions and Local Authority are currently working together to agree how to implement the proposals so that every penny invested in the school delivers the best possible learning outcomes for the students.

“No decisions have been made about redundancies and all parties are working hard to ensure a satisfactory outcome.”