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Restarts mark end for many teachers

WHEN Watermeads secondary school in Merton, south London, reopened as Bishopsford community school last year, only two out of 30 staff were retained. Seven were made redundant.

Fourteen teachers from the former Earl Marshall school in Sheffield were sacked and only 19 transferred to the new secondary. And at Blakelaw in Newcastle, only 13 teachers joined the 30 staff recruited for the new school.

Strike action, backed by the National Union of Teachers, followed Fresh Start announcements in Brighton and Lewisham last year. NUT national executive member Dave Harvey said: "Teachers will leave schools that are under this much pressure and fresh starts lead to redundancies. You don't turn schools around with measures like this."

The NationalAssociation of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers said large-scale redundancies would be unavoidable if the Government plans went through in their present form.

Assistant general secretary Jerry Barlett said: "The threat of redundancy has been used to persuade people to retire, to be redeployed or as a lever to improve their performance. But if this is facing 68 schools, I don't see how redundancies can be avoided."

For every school closure and Fresh Start initiative already in place, two senior members of staff had lost their job, according to the Secondary Heads Association.

John Dunford, SHA's general secretary, said: "In the past people with impressive reputations have taken up the challenge only to be made redundant."

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