Parents protested at a Bradford primary school yesterday after learning that it had decided to cut the job of a popular member of staff.

Eileen Holland, a part-time parental involvement officer at St Columba’s Catholic Primary in Dudley Hill for eight years, will work her final shift on Friday.

Yesterday, parents and pupils made their feelings clear by handing over a 150-name petition calling for Mrs Holland to stay before staging a rush-hour protest.

Mariangela Palma, a mum of two, said: “Her dedication to the children has been amazing. We are losing a parental involvement officer, a social worker and a summer club leader all at once. The kids love her and the staff are really sad as well. She would do anything for anybody.

“We are very upset that she is being let go. We have been told that the decision was made because of funding.”

Kathryn Calvert, whose ten-year-old son goes to the school, said Mrs Holland had been a huge help during tough times and was “always there for parents and children”.

She said: “She has run courses for parents. We are all very disappointed that she is being let go – she will be a huge loss to the school.”

Frances Haley, whose eight-year-old son is a pupil at St Columba’s, said: “I have done courses in numeracy, literacy, craft and computers because of Eileen’s encouragement. She has helped parents and children through bereavement, divorce and bullying and is a fantastic person. We are all devastated.”

Mark Wiggin, director of social care organisation Catholic Care, Mrs Holland’s employers, which is run by the Diocese of Leeds, said the decision to end her contract had been made by the school.

Mr Wiggin said: “We are disappointed that Eileen will not be continuing at the school. That decision was a funding decision.

“We have had a great partnership with the school from which parents have benefited and we would very much like it to continue.”

Mr Wiggin said he would be “more than happy” to sit down with the school to see if there was anything he could do to help.

St Columba’s head teacher Peter Spillane said: “We have a contract with Catholic Care. For that they supply us with a parental involvement officer.

“Unfortunately, the costs of the service have doubled. The governors are charged with making use of their funds and it makes more sense for the school to appoint its own parental involvement officer as it’s considerably cheaper.”

Mr Spillane said the school had sought assurances from Catholic Care that Mrs Holland would not be out of a job before making its decision. Mrs Holland also works at several other primary schools.