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Thousands of job losses forecast

Nearly 2,200 jobs are to be lost, according to a survey of English local education authorities and there are predictions of many more job cuts to follow, writes Clare Dean.

Among the hardest hit areas were Devon, where an estimated 400 teaching and non-teaching jobs are to go, and Lancashire, where teacher losses are likely to be between 400 and 500, reveals the survey by the National Association of Head Teachers.

Seven other authorities - Buckinghamshire, Durham, Hereford and Worcester, Rotherham, Somerset, Warwickshire and Norfolk (which includes Education Secretary Gillian Shephard's constituency) - are considering at least 100 job cuts.

In Sheffield, several schools have refused to set a budget or, like schools in Warwickshire, are setting "needs-related" budgets. And in Dorset many schools said they would be in deficit by the end of the year and another 37 estimated they would be in the same position by the end of the financial year.

The survey revealed that taking the cost of the teachers' pay rise and inflation into account, 67 per cent of local authorities had cut budgets in real terms.

The NAHT had responses from 67 out of 107 English LEAs, and these showed that 19 councils increased their budgets while three stayed the same.

Schools in the counties will be the hardest hit with authorities cutting on average 2.75 per cent - or a total Pounds 258.8 million - from the general schools budget compared to the average in London and the metropolitan areas of 0.5 per cent.

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