Headteachers warn of job losses

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Head teachers have warned that they will have to sack teachers, increase class sizes or drop subjects from the curriculum in the new year because of a squeeze on budgets.

The causes include pay rises, raised national insurance and pension contributions, mounting heating and lighting bills, as well as increased examination costs.

Other expenses include Public Finance Initiative (PFI) repayments and increased responsibility for pupils with special needs.

Schools are also suffering from cuts to sixth-form budgets, as post-16 education is not covered by the Government's pledge to maintain education spending.

Brian Lightman, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said schools in the North of England were likely to face more hardship than those in the South and London.

He said: "We've got to the position where basic provision and front-line services will be cut. It's not only about cutting staffing levels and raising class sizes – they'll have to reduce the breadth of the curriculum. Options won't be offered that have been up until now."

A dossier drawn up by headteachers in Wirral, Merseyside, reveals that almost all of its 22 secondary schools will go into the red within the next two years. The Wirral heads' dossier says that 19 out of the 22 secondary schools in the borough will be unable to set a balanced budget by 2016/17.

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "I suspect we're reaching the end of the line for efficiency savings.

"I really do think the past four years have been hard but the fact is we're not reaching the end of the projected cuts. We face as many cuts in the future as we have in past."

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said that school budgets had been protected, with all local authorities receiving the same amount per pupil as in 2010.

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