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Union warns of 3,000 job losses

At least 3,000 teaching posts will be lost in schools in England and Wales by the summer, according to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, writes Dorothy Lepkowska.

The union estimates that schools issued statutory redundancy notices to 4,600 teachers. However, 1,500 jobs were saved through negotiation with unions, although threatened staff were likely to have been redeployed or placed on temporary contracts. Savings will be made instead on books, equipment and building repairs.

May 31 was the deadline for notice for staff to leave by the end of the current academic year, but it is feared that more jobs may go by Christmas, if not earlier.

The ATL figures, the first to give a clear indication of the impact of cuts on education, fall short of the 7,000 to 10,000 redundancies predicted earlier this year by Gillian Shephard, the Education Secretary. The fact that the job losses are less than even she predicted may be used by the Government as evidence that further efficiency savings can be made.

The survey of 8,453 schools, in more than a third of all education authorities, during two weeks in May found that Section 188 notices were being considered in almost a quarter of secondary schools, 8 per cent of primaries, 7 per cent of special schools and 9 per cent of "others" including sixth-form colleges.

The union calculates that, across the country, 1,636 jobs will go in secondary schools, 804 in primaries, 150 in special schools and 576 in "others". Most redundancies will be achieved through early or ill-health retirement. Government figures show such retirements are costing more than Pounds 200m a year.

Some schools were also making savings by not replacing staff who leave and not recruiting teachers to cope with rising pupil numbers.

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