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New Deal cash to save 50 jobs in Borders

Around 50 Borders staff will keep their jobs because of the Government's New Deal windfall for education. Councillors on Tuesday are expected to agree to bail out the education budget with the Pounds 1.2 million Scottish Office cash injection.

Borders is the first authority to detail how the next round of cuts will affect schools and how it intends to use the extra funding. Councillors are being advised that without the windfall there would be significant staffing reductions because of Government limits on overall council spending.

Officials want to divert Pounds 1 million to maintain staffing standards in schools and keep class sizes at current levels. Visiting teachers of expressive arts and learning support staff will not be axed. John Christie, director of education, said: "We believe the best way of raising standards is to keep teachers in the classroom."

The remaining Pounds 200,000 of new money will go to pre-school education and information technology, the Government's priority areas.

But schools are likely to lose Pounds 250,000 from their spending on books and materials, while repairs and maintenance will be hit by a similar figure. Final decisions will be taken next month.

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