PUPILS staged a lunchtime protest on the playing field at Wellington Academy in Ludgershall today, with some refusing to go back to class at the end of their break.

The youngsters were upset by the sudden departure of several teachers.

One said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. Some of us are in the middle of our GCSEs.

“The heads of year came out and told us we could stay here all day if we liked but it wouldn’t make any difference.”

The Journal tried to contact principal Dr Michael Milner but he was in a meeting. A spokesman said a letter would be issued to parents this afternoon.

A notice was posted on the academy’s website yesterday saying: “We have had to take a small number of difficult decisions on staffing for September 2014 in order to optimise the experience offered to our students in the new academic year.”

Vice-principal Suzanne Dew said: “We are going through a restructuring process in response to changes in the curriculum as suggested by the Department for Education and fully endorsed by Ofsted, and in line with budget reductions which are impacting schools across the country.

“Staff are able to make a request to be able, for example, to leave prior to the end of their contractual notice period.

“We are being extremely sensitive and empathetic to the small number of staff that might be affected, as long as it does not impact on the continued education of the students.”

Ms Dew said four members of staff “have left this term as part of this process, as of today”.

She added that the process was “not quite complete”, and she was unable to discuss any individual cases.