SWINDON Academy axed 27 teachers and support workers over the summer in one of the biggest jobs culls ever carried out at a school in the town.

The flagship academy, which caters for children of primary and secondary age, blamed the move on public sector cuts and over-staffing.

The cull included 12 staff who took voluntary redundancy, another 11 whose posts were deleted and four who decided not to take positions in a new structure.

Payouts made by the academy amounted to more than £230,000.

The highest single award was to a teacher who decided not to carry on in a new post and received £49,919.

The figures were provided after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Adver.

Unison was involved in negotiating on behalf of staff affected during and after a consultation period which ended in July.

Parents were told earlier in the summer that the cuts had necessitated the move, finalised in August, and talks had begun with staff to reduce the size of the workforce.

A letter from principal Ruth Robinson said: “Throughout this process, our aim is to look at any initiative that avoids making compulsory redundancies but, unfortunately, this cannot be guaranteed.

“The transition to the new staffing structure will, of course, be handled extremely carefully to make sure that our students’ day-to-day learning is unaffected.”

The school’s management say that while educational standards have risen, staffing levels remained untypically high.

Mrs Robinson described the academy’s aim as being to “introduce a way that allows us to continue improving provision for our students, maintain our community support and accelerate the rate of progress that our children make”.

The academy, run across two sites in Beech Avenue and Alton Close, was one of the Government’s flagship academies at the time of its launch in 2007, and the first to cater for infants right through to 19-year-olds.

A spokesman said: “The academy undertook a major restructuring in the summer. As a result, the academy now has the appropriate structure in place to meet the needs of its students from primary through to sixth-form. Whilst no redundancy process is ever easy, we were pleased to be able to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies to far fewer than had been speculated at the time.”