Grant freeze means teacher job losses

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The Independent Online

The first teacher redundancies for years have been announced because of a government decision to freeze a £154m grant that helped ethnic minority pupils learn English.

Leicester City Council is being forced to cut staff at a time when it has to cope with nearly 1,000 extra pupils arriving in its schools with little or no knowledge of English.

Labour leaders of the country's local education authorities say the decision is the first of many throughout the country, because every council in England has had the grants frozen. They plan to raise concerns with Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, today.

Leicester has started redundancy negotiations, warning that eight of its 47-strong staff will have to go as a result of pegging its grant at £3.6m.

The staff, who work with some of the most vulnerable schools in the country, would be the first to suffer redundancy from government spending restrictions since Labour began increasing overall education budgets with Tony Blair's rallying call that "education, education and education" would be his top three priorities.

Leicester is one of the areas chosen by the Home Office as a dispersal area to house asylum-seekers, with the result that 100 extra children have been taken. In addition, a further 850 Somali children have arrived in the city during the past 12 months.