Pay rise could cost teachers their jobs

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The Independent Online
SCHOOLS have been warned that teachers' jobs will be at risk if they insist on a pay rise this year. Any rise in salaries must be paid for by efficiency savings or job cuts, ministers said yesterday.

Evidence submitted to the School Teachers' Review Body by the Department for Education repeated government assertions that a tight rein was to be kept on public sector pay.

The evidence marked the first real note of discord between the teaching profession and the new Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Shephard.

Demands that limits should be set on class sizes and on teachers' working hours both in and outside the classroom were rejected, prompting claims that Mrs Shephard had failed to listen to teachers' concerns.

Figures published with the department's submission to the pay review body show that 23 per cent of primary pupils are now in classes of more than 30, compared with 19 per cent in 1990. Pupil numbers have risen in the past year by 2 per cent, but teacher numbers by just 0.3 per cent.

Although the evidence said officials would constantly review the supply of teachers in order to spot future shortages, it warned there would be no big pay rises next year.

'Higher pay costs could lead to reductions in service levels or reductions in employment if they cannot be covered within provision by the necessary efficiency savings and other economies,' the submission said.

This year the Government imposed the review body's recommended 2.9 per cent pay increase.