Job losses at public schools to rise despite higher fees

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The Independent Online

Redundancies among teachers in independent schools are likely to triple despite the large increase in pupils' fees this year.

Redundancies among teachers in independent schools are likely to triple despite the large increase in pupils' fees this year.

Jonathan Restell, the official at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers with responsibility for private schools, said his union was dealing with about 300 cases of threatened redundancies in this school year, caused by the spiralling costs of running a school, which have also beset the state sector.

The figure compares with about 100 last year and a maximum of 200 in any other given year.

The rise in redundancies was predicted as bursars grappled with increased costs – such as increases in pension and national insurance contributions and performance-related pay rises for staff.

Schools had decided to increase their fees by between 7 and 10 per cent, but felt there was a limit to the extra parents could be expected to pay.

"We are inevitably seeing the response to increased costs," Mr Restell said. "Some schools are taking the opportunity to review their curriculum and – if they have a department they consider overstaffed – they are saying now is the time to tackle it.

"They have been putting fees up for some time now. First it was the threshold payments of £2,000 available to good state school teachers at the top of the salary scale. They decided, 'If we want to get the best teachers, we'll have to pay it as well.' Then it was the further rises up U2 [the upper pay spine that can take state school classroom teachers' pay up to £35,000 a year] and the increased pensions contributions. Costs have rocketed and fee rises have gone up as far as they can."

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