STAFF at a school are to be balloted for strike action after plans to make compulsory redundancies emerged.

Union bosses said they had been forced to take action after discovering Darwen Vale High School was about to write to staff warning of the potential job losses.

It comes soon after an interim executive board replaced the governors ahead of the school pulling out of council control and converting to an academy.

A letter signed by headteacher Fiona Jack, which has been seen by the Lancashire Telegraph but not sent out, said the school anticipated a budget deficit of more than £400,000 by the end of the next financial year unless savings were made.

Teaching union chiefs said the redundancies were unnecessary and would not happen if the school was not becoming an academy.

A joint statement from unions the NUT, NASUWT and ATL, said: “The data on Darwen Vale at the moment shows it is improving under its own steam.

“There is no need for academisation.

“It is despicable the way the interim executive board is behaving.

“In their haste to slash up to 25 jobs, with the reserves of £300,000 the school has got, this is unfair and unnecessary.

“We accept there may be a need for some reductions in staffing levels but this could be managed by voluntary measures.

“This is merely a case of the new academy sponsor clearing the decks ahead of taking over next year.”

The unions also said documents they were sent in error showed staff lists for this year and next showed certain people had been ‘pre-selected’ with their names removed for no apparent reason. The unions called for ‘the authorities to conduct a full investigation’.

Mrs Jack said ‘factors have led to fewer pupils attending Darwen Vale and this has caused financial pressures’, adding that the school was ‘forecast to go into deficit next year by the end of the next financial year.

This had prompted the ‘very difficult decision to start a consultation with staff about potential job reductions’.

She apologised to staff about the shared list, and described it as ‘purely an academic exercise to calculate potential savings’, and added: “We are following the correct procedures and I want to stress that no decisions will be made about which posts or members of staff may be affected until the consultation is completed.”