Minority drive puts jobs at risk

Plans to raise standards among ethnic-minority pupils could lead to redundancies, teachers' leaders fear. The new Ethnic Minority Pupil Achievement Grant will result in #163;430 million being devolved to schools over the next few years. This is a 15 per cent increase on Section 11 funding which was held centrally by local authorities.

Teachers' union leaders fear that existing language specialists may lose their jobs as schools will be able to decide how to spend the money. Headteachers will be free to choose to spend the cash on books, specialist staff or training.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

"While we welcome the extra funding, it is a pity that the Government has chosen to threaten existing teams which have shown such good service to ethnic-minority pupils. We will fight any redundancies."

A Government spokeswoman said the threat of redundancies was minimal as specialists would be needed to train other staff.

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