Headlines: June 6th, 2002

Disturbing new evidence from the headteachers’ union, the NAHT, suggests that staff who have been hard to attract into schools are now in danger of being lost due to a shortage of money.A survey of state school budgets shows many schools so short of money they are letting staff on short contracts go to balance the books.

This goes against a massive initiative run by the Department for Education and Skills to recruit people to work in schools. Initiatives include golden hellos, training salaries and a reduction in bureaucracy.

NAHT’s survey covers the budget year April 2002 – March 2003. Heads from nearly 1400 schools in 138 Local Education Authorities in England responded.

Forty five per cent of schools said that they would be making cuts in staffing this year. By sector this means 251 teachers and 282 support staff will be lost from primary schools, 55 teachers and 11 support staff from secondary schools, and 17 teachers and 20 support staff from special schools

The union says this pattern of diminished resources looks likely to continue, and that further cuts can only be avoided by a favourable outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review in July and the new funding system, due to come on stream in 2003/2004. That is supposed to significantly eliminate funding disparities between Local Education Authorities by levelling up.

The NAHT says the job losses are “plumb crazy” at a time when schools desperately need more teachers and more support staff.

The union is hosting its annual conference in Torquay this week.

Link: www.naht.org.uk