Staff, unions and former pupils are battling against plans by an academy trust to make redundancies and cut working hours at a primary school in west Reading.

375 people have signed a petition opposing Baylis Court Academy Trust’s (BCAT) takeover of Battle Primary School.

The school is changing hands from NET Academies to BCAT so that it can ‘become part of a local family of schools’, according to a spokesman for the departing trust.

BCAT are planning to make some support staff redundant, cut support staff’s hours by 25 per cent, and have not ruled out further redundancies in the future, according to GMB.

Michelle Bull said: “I’m an ex member of staff and the current staff there deserve better than this.”

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Kathy Swift, who attended the school in the 1960s, added: “I just wish people would leave schools and let them get on with it. They all seem like hard-working teachers doing their job so why change it.

“Can we not just help each other instead of making life more difficult. Chucking people out of work is pointless.”

The petition against the takeover was started by the Reading branch of GMB, who are now negotiating with the trust.

Nikki Dancey, GMB Southern regional organiser, said the takeover is going ahead and the trust has now agreed to open negotiations on union representation having previously rejected it ‘out of hand’.

She added that proposed redundancies and cuts to hours are ‘still on the table’ in the negotiations.

Battle Primary School achieved a ‘Good’ Ofsted report in May, having received ‘requires improvement’ ratings in 2014 and 2016.

David McMullen, GMB branch secretary, said: “Teachers and support staff alike are united in fear and discomfort at the prospect of this takeover.

“When Baylis Court took over Reading Girls School in 2017, this same type of hostility resulted in many skilled and experienced teachers and support staff leaving Reading Girls.

“We fear that Battle Primary may also lose valued staff if this happens again, which will of course also hurt the school itself.”

BCAT was approached for comment but chose not to respond.

The trust currently runs Reading Girls’, as well as Phoenix Infant Academy and Baylis Court School in Slough.