20,000 more teachers needed, heads say

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The Independent Online

Twenty thousand more teachers need to be recruited if schools are to return to the best pupil-teacher ratios experienced under the current Conservative government, the National Association of Head Teachers says in evidence to the Pay Review Body today.

The figures are released the day after the Independent revealed that more than 5,000 teachers were made redundant last July, nearly one in five of them compulsorily.

Class sizes are soaring because schools are having to lose teachers they cannot afford while a past boom in the birth rate has flooded the primary schools with an extra 120,000 pupils this month.

Schools are short of money because the Government refused to foot the bill for a teachers' pay increase awarded earlier this year. A national protest march of parents, governors and teachers is to be held in London tomorrow.

The NAHT figures, which come from a survey of two-thirds of English and Welsh local education authorities, show that there were some 12,000 teacher redundancies in the three school years to last July. One county council had 89 compulsory redundancies and a metropolitan council 87.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, tells the Pay Review Body, which will decide next year's pay award, that the Government appears willing to accept deteriorating pupil/ teacher ratios and increased class sizes.