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Teaching jobs are under threat, says MP Lait

PUBLISHED: 16:32 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 12 August 2010

AN MP has warned that many teachers could lose their jobs in light of slashed funding for sixth formers, writes Kate Nelson. Beckenham MP, Jacqui Lait, told the House of Commons how cuts by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in funding for post-16 e

AN MP has warned that "many teachers" could lose their jobs in light of slashed funding for sixth formers, writes Kate Nelson.

Beckenham MP, Jacqui Lait, told the House of Commons how cuts by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in funding for post-16 education could mean redundancies for teaching staff.

She said: "Langley Park School for Boys in my constituency suffered a cut of 3.7 per cent in its sixth-form funding for some 600 pupils. That cut takes effect today and I understand that it is not the only school affected in this way.

"Have you received a request from the Secretary of State for Culture, Schools and Families to come to explain to the House what is wrong with the learning and skills councils and what he plans to do to fix these appalling cuts, which could mean many teachers losing their jobs?"

Operations Director at Langley Park School for Boys, Barry Golding, said they would put pressure on the LSC to change their mind and that he hoped there would be no redundancies.

He said: "We hope the LSC has made a big mistake. They seem to have run out of money. We have 625 pupils on the books and we expect funding for all of them. The money amounts to over £200,000, a big cut in funding.

"If by 2013, they expect the majority of pupils to stay on in education or training until 18 then they need to rectify this. We expect to have resources for this and we don't think that is unreasonable.

"It is not just us who has been affected, we have spoken to Langley Park School for Girls and Hayes School. The LSC told us about the cuts on March 30 for the financial year starting April 1. If they were in dire straits they should have told us earlier to help us plan."

Asked if he could guarantee no redundancies, Mr Golding said: "I can't say definitely but we are not looking to make any at the moment.

"They will have to change their mind. We are a very experienced school and we will adapt but the LSC has got this wrong."

A spokesperson for the LSC said: "It is clear that our letter to schools has caused them confusion and concern for which we apologise. The letter stated there were ongoing discussions and that further checks needed to be done. However it was misleading to say that these were final rather than provisional allocations.

"The number of young people who wish to study in school sixth forms and colleges this year is even higher than the growth we originally forecast. Whilst that is good news, we continue to work to make sure we are able to fund the additional growth.

"We have a statutory requirement to give schools an allocation by the end of March. Discussions are continuing and in the meantime we have made an interim allocation based on the increased funding.

"We will write again to schools and colleges when cross government discussions have concluded by the end of April."

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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