Thousands of class assistants face the sack

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The Independent Online

Thousands of teaching assistant jobs should be cut to help claw back millions of pounds wasted running schools, according to an internal Government report.

The report, by former WH Smith chief executive Richard Handover for the Schools Secretary Ed Balls, recommended that 40,000 teaching assistants should be removed from their posts to improve efficiency. It concluded that financial responsibility "is not seen as a core responsibility of management at any level". As an example of unnecessary costs, it cited a primary school which spent £50,000 on installing three toilets when the work could have been done for £5,000.

The report, obtained by the BBC's Politics Show, said it would be possible to cut school budgets by 6 per cent without an impact on education. Mr Balls' Department for Children, School and Families had used Mr Handover's advice in identifying £650m worth of savings, enabling it to spend an extra £655m on funding extra sixth-form places. However, a spokesman said Mr Balls "did not want to see fewer teachers or teaching assistants".