Protest outside Rye College. Picture by Cat Payne SUS-210521-132632001

Rye College students protest against proposed ‘cuts’

Students at Rye College held a demonstration today (Friday, May 21) outside the campus in protest over proposed ‘cuts’.

The move comes after campaigners fighting against the plans wrote to Sir Paul McCartney for his support.

And an online petition set up by parent Daryl Devlia has attracted more than 1,500 signatures.

He said Rye College is proposing to cut several teachers and teaching assistants’ jobs, meaning a number of GCSEs would be removed from the curriculum.

Daryl said that last year the college stopped teaching computer science and food technology and was now proposing to cut textiles, travel and tourism, graphics and dance and drama.

He said: “Rye College has always had a good reputation for its art and performing arts subjects. Parents send their children to Rye specifically for these subjects, with a large percentage of pupils travelling a long distance to study there.

“If these subjects are removed there would be little reason for any parents outside of the catchment area to send their children to Rye, which would lead to the collapse of its reputation and then inevitable financial collapse of the school.”

Parent Cat Payne said: “My husband and I are extremely disappointed that Rye College and the Aquinas Trust are proposing cuts to the arts subjects as not all students excel in the core subjects but are hugely creative in other fields.

“I truly believe every child should have the chance to excel in any area they choose and that the arts play a big part in children’s mental health, confidence building and general wellbeing.

“Taking these subjects off the curriculum will only knock children’s belief that they are good enough in the areas they feel most comfortable.

“We have twin girls starting at Rye College in September and they were so excited to be a part of the drama, dance and music classes. Now it seems their chances of following their plans for the future will be put in jeopardy.

“Cuts to home economics and graphics, to name only a couple, have already impacted on students’ GCSE choices this year. We’re desperately hoping these cuts don’t happen.”

The National Education Union (NEU) said it has begun to ballot its members at the college in response to the proposals, meaning staff could go on strike.

A public meeting has been set up on Zoom next Wednesday (May 26) from 7pm, that parents, students and concerned community members can attend to discuss the plans.

Rye College is managed by Aquinas Academy Trust.

Barry Blakelock, executive headteacher, said: “Rye College is currently consulting with colleagues on how best to secure the national curriculum and other statutory subjects. As with anything of this nature, we would first consult colleagues before inviting the views of other stakeholders if any substantial changes were proposed. This process ensures our school remains strong and stable going forward and no one should be unduly concerned.

“Over recent years Rye College has undergone significant transformation to become one of the highest performing schools in the local area. We look forward to building on this good work, sensitive to the views of our students and their families.”

To register for next Wednesday’s public meeting, visit

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