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Agency sacks admin staff

TimePlan, the leading teacher recruitment agency, has made 9 per cent of its administrative staff redundant.

The 15 employees who have lost their jobs are based at the company's London and South-east offices. The redundancies come 18 months after the agency's Amy Gehring public relations disaster. The Canadian supply teacher was cleared of sexually assaulting two male pupils in February last year, but the case undermined confidence in the supply agency industry, and TimePlan in particular.

A TimePlan insider told The TES: "There were assurances to staff that their jobs were safe. The decline in business follows the Amy Gehring case. Some might say justice is being done at last, but it's the staff that have suffered."

The company blames this year's tight school budgets, the Iraq war, the Sars virus and a competitive international recruitment market.

Education director Christopher King, who resigned over the Amy Gehring case but was later reinstated, said: "It's not been a very nice thing to have to do. I spoke personally to all eight people made redundant at my office in London. We've asked ourselves if it's Amy Gehring. But it is not. We have no plans to make further redundancies."

Ian Penman, TimePlan chairman, said government restrictions on the issuing of work permits to overseas staff was also a factor.

TimePlan's 2002 company accounts show its three directors took home a pound;993,000 pay rise between them, taking their aggregate salary from pound;2,331,000 to pound;3,324,000.

But Mr King said: "The money hasn't been paid. That money is the company's cash flow and the accountants advised that it was a sensible way to do things because you pay less tax on it."

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said TimePlan's announcement was no surprise given the pressure on supply agencies.

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