Inadequate funding 'threatens teaching jobs'

SCHOOLS and local education authorities are considering sacking teachers in order to balance their books, a teaching union said yesterday.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers surveyed 34 of its branches in England and Wales. It found that 1,732 teachers were under threat of redundancy, after section 188 notices were served.

The notices, by law, have to disclose to trade unions the number of employees who are 'at risk' of redundancy. The deadline for decisions about staff to be made redundant this summer term is the end of this month.

Peter Smith, general secretary of the association, said: 'Our survey shows that teachers' jobs are being threatened due to inadequate levels of government funding. Schools and LEAs have run short of cash in a squeeze which can only be to the detriment of pupils in our schools. Even when threats of the sack are withdrawn, the survey shows the degree of stress and uncertainty which teachers are subjected to every day.'

The union said that if the situation was similar nationally, as many as 5,000 teaching jobs would go. Of the 9,641 schools represented in the returns, 616 had issued notices. The number of jobs at risk is greater in secondary schools (722.4) than primary schools (588.5). The remaining posts are at special schools, or schools where the sector was not specified. Branch secretaries identified budget shortfalls as the reason for the redundancies. They also said schools had found it impossible to make efficiency savings to fund the 2.9 per cent pay rise for teachers.

There was also concern that teachers over 50 were also being targeted for redundancy.