Government to axe up to 3,000 education jobs

Schools secretary Ed Balls has revealed government plans to cut up to 3,000 senior education positions, to save £2bn in teaching budgets.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Balls outlined plans aimed at cutting school budgets by 5% by 2011 and warned that to do this up to 3,000 senior positions, including head teachers and deputies, could be axed.

Although teachers’ pay is set by an independent body, Balls added future pay deals would have to be “disciplined”.
He said: “If we are going to keep teachers and teaching assistants on the front line, that means we are going to have to be disciplined on public sector pay, including in education.”

The schools secretary also proposed a “federation” system for schools to help institutions save £500 million through joint procurement of spending on equipment, facilities, insurance and energy.

Chris Keates, general secretary of teaching union NASUWT backed Balls’ plans to target the “proliferation” of heads and deputies who worked as administrators not teachers. 

He said: “Where school leaders lose their regular contact with the classroom they are vulnerable to challenge over the value of their role.

School leaders who remain lead practitioners and focus on their role in supporting, leading and managing teaching and learning make a most valuable contribution.” 

But Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, told the BBC: “Any characterisation of heads, deputy heads or even departmental heads as bureaucrats is nonsense. They are teachers.”

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg warned it would be “absolute madness” to make cuts that would affect the future of young people in Britain.

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