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Give us the cash or the deal's off

YOUR front-page story (TES, February 28) echoes the views of the council of the South-west region of the National Association of Head Teachers. We have serious concerns about the government grant settlement budgets and the cost of implementing the teachers' workload agreement.

The grant settlement in the South-west has been disastrous. Officials from the Department for Education and Skills assured our representatives at a number of meetings that there would be no losers next year and yet, in the majority of south-west authorities, schools are faced with making many valued staff redundant.

Most have standstill budgets but in reality these are reduced budgets as they are eroded by the need to meet unfunded costs such as the employers'

National Insurance increase, higher pensions contributions, shortening of the main salary scale and the shortfalls in the performance-management scheme.

You also recently reported David Miliband, school standards minister, as saying that schools would have to fund threshold costs from budgets.

We are seriously concerned about the costs of the workload agreement, too.

We support the workload reduction proposals - they are vital if we are to solve the recruitment and retention problems. Our concern is the cost.

Primary and secondary schools in the workload-reduction pilot received pound;125,000 and pound;175,000 respectively.

Every school in the country will need considerable funding to implement this agreement. Unless the Government can guarantee that the funding will be provided we will be asking that the NAHT withdraws from the agreement.

Terry McCretton

Secretary, South-west region

National Association of Head Teachers

Briefing, 29

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