The staffroom cull

30th May 2003 at 01:00
Charles Clarke's measures to avert redundancies have failed: 1,000 teachers are going to be sacked

More than a thousand teachers and hundreds of support staff will be made redundant this September, a TES survey suggests.

Many more jobs will be lost through natural wastage as schools cannot replace departing staff.

Experts say that the teacher recruitment market has collapsed in the past few months as the scale of schools' funding difficulties has become apparent.

Continuing pressure on school budgets and falling pupil numbers mean that it is unlikely to recover until well into the autumn.

The TES survey of English local education authorities found there will be 339 job losses in 44 LEAs.If that picture is replicated across the rest of England then a total of 1,093 teachers will be made redundant.

It will mirror the findings of the Department for Education and Skills' own survey of councils which is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.

The TES survey shows that, in many areas, falling rolls have exacerbated the effects of rising costs and changes to the method of funding schools.

Warwickshire's expected 36 redundancies are almost all the result of falling pupil numbers, while Essex estimates that the reduced rolls account for 14 of its 30 teacher and 10 of 29 support staff job cuts.

The worst-hit authorities include Warwickshire, Essex, Devon and Bath and North East Somerset.

Schools in the North-east are also among the major losers with 23 teachers and 38 support staff due to be made redundant in Sunderland.

Despite concerns that schools in London would be unable to afford higher teachers' pay, most parts of the capital appear to have escaped major job losses.

Only Lambeth (12 teaching posts) and Haringey (10 support staff) expect double figure redundancies although 28 posts are set to go in Kingston-upon-Thames through natural wastage.

The TES survey suggests that heads and teacher unions may have overestimated the likely number of redundancies.

Last week, the National Association of Head Teachers said that there could be 3,000 redundancies, while the National Union of Teachers put the figure at 1,570.

But the TES survey will still make uncomfortable reading for Education Secretary Charles Clarke, who had hoped emergency measures would avert redundancies. Two weeks ago he announced that heads would be able to use other schools' reserves and divert money for building work to pay teachers.

However, the move has failed to solve the problem. Of 19 authorities expressing an opinion 13 said the measures would make little or no difference. Only Hampshire said they would save a significant number of jobs (at least 10).

Most of the councils who replied to the survey were unable to estimate the number of posts that would be lost through natural wastage.

But an analysis of adverts placed in The TES, by Professor John Howson, a leading recruitment expert, shows that schools are taking on fewer staff.

The number of primary mainscale posts advertised during March and April fell from 2,227 in 2001 to 1,858 last year. This year, however, the figure was just 936.

Similarly, the numbers of secondary maths and science posts advertised have fallen by about 30 and 40 per cent respectively.

Professor Howson said the job prospects for young teachers looked increasingly bleak.

"The next problem for the Government will be lots of people finishing primary teacher training this year, having paid tuition fees but who are unable to find jobs. They will not be very happy," he said.

News, 4 Leader, 22 Briefing, 27

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