5,000 teachers lost in one year

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The Independent Online
Eight hundred and sixty teachers have been sacked and a further 4,300 have volunteered for redundancy, according to the first official figures on the effects of this year's education spending squeeze.

Ministers had braced themselves for several thousand job losses but the number of compulsory redundancies presents serious political difficulties for them. The figures, compiled by the Local Government Management Board, the employers' organisation, and seen by the Independent, show that schools started this term with 10,000 teachers short of the number they needed to keep pace with the rising pupil population.

Details of the cuts come just before parents are due to march in London in protest against rising class sizes and as Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, is arguing the case for education in this year's public spending round.

The board's survey of 77 out of 116 local authorities found that 571 teachers were made compulsorily redundant at the end of last term and 2,880 took voluntary redundancy. If the trend is reflected in the remaining third of authorities, more than 5,000 will have gone, including 860 sackings.

But local authorities say another 5,000 are needed to keep pace with rising pupil numbers.

Mrs Shephard warned Cabinet colleagues a year ago that 10,000 teaching jobs would be lost unless more money was found for education. But the Government refused to fund the teachers' 2.7 per cent pay award.

The Department for Education and Employment said in its evidence to the Teachers' Pay Review Body last week that teacher numbers rose between January 1994 and January this year. However, teacher unions say many of those hired were part-time.

Full details, Section Two, pages 13 and 14

School discipline, page 7