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Protest over wage burden

MICK Brookes, head of Sherwoods junior school in Warsop, Nottinghamshire, has seen a 13.5 per cent rise in staffing costs over the past year, writes Mo Atchia.

He says the increase, which followed the Government's overhaul of teachers'

pay structure, has caused a pound;25,000 budget deficit. A classroom assistant was released from her temporary contract at the 240-pupil-school, because of the cash shortfall. And now he may be forced to reduce the teaching staff from eight to seven.

"We may be able to struggle through to the next financial year, but we will have to lose a further teaching post if we are not given the money to cover our deficit," he said.

"Increases in staff costs have been a direct result of under-funded performance management, the compression of the nine-point main scale for teachers and increases in the basic scale for teaching assistants."

The school's income rose from pound;529,000 (20002001) to pound;534,000 this year. But spending rose to pound;560,000 from pound;537,000 - leaving a shortfall of just over pound;25,000.

"We are having to go cap in hand to parents to re-stock the library, and have reduced our contingency fund to zero," said Mr Brookes.

"We had built up provision to allow staff non-contact time - two hours every fortnight - and reduced class sizes in Year 6.

"All this will go next year unless additional funding can be found for our school."

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