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Heads told to pension off staff to save cash

Cancelling insurance policies, asking for donations and persuading older staff to retire are some of the money-saving tips given to primary heads struggling to afford to give teachers time off to mark and prepare lessons.

The suggestions are contained in a checklist from the National Remodelling Team, the government body overseeing the school workforce agreement.

The list has been handed out to heads attending training sessions on implementing the final phase of the deal, which guarantees teachers 10 per cent planning preparation and assessment time from September.

Many primary schools say they cannot fund the guarantee. The checklist aims to help them "review expenditure" and "optimise income". It suggests heads consider the risk of not taking out staff sickness insurance and ask their staff whether they are interested in redundancy or early retirement.

Other money-saving suggestions include delaying the filling of new or vacant posts by "a few months" or merging classes: "If there are small numbers in year groups could classes include different year groups?"

The checklist asks heads: "Is it better for pupils to have larger classes: using learning support staff as well as a teacher, so the ratio of pupil to teacher is higher but the pupil to adult ratio could be lower?"

Money-making tips include charging parents for breakfast or after-school clubs and ensuring that schools get a "good commission" from the sale of school photographs and uniforms.

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