Cash crisis piles pressure on teachers

SCHOOLS in Suffolk are having to make "unprecedented" redundancies, according to a new survey highlighting the funding crisis in education.The survey estimates the East of England needed 191 extra teachers and claimed only 251 teachers were taken on this year – a figure below the national average.

SCHOOLS in Suffolk are having to make "unprecedented" redundancies, according to a new survey highlighting the funding crisis in education.

The survey estimates the East of England needed 191 extra teachers and claimed only 251 teachers were taken on this year – a figure below the national average.

It also said there were 442 teachers who were not replaced or redundancies that could not be filled by schools, due to funding problems.

Martin Goold, Suffolk county secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said: "The survey has found out that thousands of teacher job losses and reductions in staffing are taking place this September.


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"We discovered that in this county alone there are roughly 130 to 150 fewer teachers

starting this term than would do if the budget had been better and 28 of these were due to actual redundancies.

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"Some schools will now face larger classes, others schools will have teachers teaching subjects or children of ages they are not prepared for. Others may find that they have less help for special needs children.

"In all the schools there will be a lot more work for teachers and less support work as well. This is unprecedented. If you take a similar situation last year, then there were less than ten redundancies declared in the whole of Suffolk."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said there was "still work to be done" to ensure the vacancies in the county's schools were filled.

"This year has indeed seen greater financial pressures on schools and they have had to make some very hard decisions regarding their budgets," she added.

"We are only aware of less than 20 full-time equivalent posts in 13 schools that may be lost through redundancies – these are all schools that are affected to some extent by a fall in their pupil numbers."

Up-to-date figures for the exact number of vacancies in Suffolk schools at the start of this term are not available as yet. Figures from the most recent survey of schools carried out by Suffolk County Council, in April 2003, show there were 66.5 vacancies compared with 230.4 in April 2002.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: "Obviously these figures are very encouraging but they may not reflect the current situation. It is impossible to say how many vacancies we have until the new term starts and a full survey has been carried out. We would expect the results of this to be available in October."

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