Primary school teaching jobs under threat

Up to 1,700 teachers will lose their jobs next term as primary schools in England and Wales make cuts to meet new government legislation, according to research.

A survey of 500 primary schools by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Independent newspaper, shows that more than one in 12 schools is being forced to sack staff.

The cuts are the result of a new law, which comes into effect in September, guaranteeing all teachers 10% of time away from the classroom for marking and preparation.

Nearly half the schools in the survey said some lessons would be covered by classroom assistants, in many cases against the headteacher’s better judgement.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The message from the survey does not make comfortable reading for those who say funding is not an issue, that there will not be job losses and that standards will not be affected.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: “In any school where claims are made that staffing will be or is being reduced, we will call for the Department for Education and Skills to investigate through a scrutiny of the school’s budget.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said: “We believe we have offered a sufficient funding increase to pay for planning, preparation and assessment time.

“The vast majority of schools are quietly getting on with the implementation with many already giving the 10% time well ahead of the deadline in September.”

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