Budget crisis means redundancy notices for 1,500 teaching staff

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The Independent Online

Nearly 1,500 teachers and support staff have been issued with redundancy notices because of the schools budget crisis, a national survey by The Independent reveals today.

Today is the deadline for headteachers to dismiss staff - so that they can work out their notice before the next academic year - and the survey found that schools in 40 per cent of local education authorities will be affected by the cash shortfall.

But the scale of the redundancy crisis is even more severe, with a further one in three councils shedding staff because of falling pupil rolls. Teachers' unions and local authority leaders warned that these job losses were only the first of many. There would be a further round of redundancies next January if the Government failed to come up with more cash for schools.

Sixty-six local education authorities took part in the Independent survey - of which 26 said they were declaring redundancies because of a shortfall in school budgets.

In these areas, 430 teachers and 239 support staff had been told to go. The figures suggest that about 960 teachers and 538 support staff are being laid off across the country. A further 19 authorities said they were declaring staff redundant because of falling pupil rolls. Only nine councils said they were able to avoid making cuts.

Damian Green, the shadow Education Secretary, said that many thousands more teaching posts were not being filled.

One authority, Wirral on Merseyside, is declaring 27 teachers and 73 support staff redundant. The East Riding of Yorkshire council said it might have to make 100 teachers redundant next year if it failed to receive any extra cash from the Government.

Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, said on BBC Radio 4's PM programme that the "Byzantine" funding system should be reformed. "There are different schools, some doing well, some doing badly," he added.

"It is unacceptable and wrong that there are some doing badly, which is why we are determined to have a better system for next year - which is more transparent and gives money to every head."