Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Hundreds of school jobs 'may go'

Hundreds of jobs could be lost in schools across Devon because of funding deficits, a head teachers' representative has warned.

Richard Newton-Chance, from the Devon Association of Secondary Heads, said figures he has for 37 schools show an average deficit of 250,000.

He said across the county that could amount to 400 jobs.

Devon County Council said it would continue to petition the government for more money for schools.

We are talking about a very difficult situation to manage and I'm at a loss to know what to do about it
Richard Newton-Chance, Devon Assoc of Secondary Heads

Devon has the 146th worse funded education budget in the country out of 149.

Mr Newton-Chance said: "Based on the figures I've looked at the deficit amounts to 8.5m across the county.

"That equals around 400 jobs.

"I've seen the figures for the primary sector as well and the same things match there, so it's not 400 people losing their jobs but 800.

"We are talking about a very difficult situation to manage and I'm at a loss to know what to do about it."

Mr Newton-Chance is head of Queen Elizabeth's Community College in Crediton.

Funding 'reservoir'

Every Devon school pupil currently receives 359 less a year than the national average.

Devon County Council said it had been campaigning for years to get a fairer education funding settlement from the government.

John Smith, the council's deputy leader, said: "It's down to us to allocate the funding and that we do.

"But we don't have the basic reservoir of funding to actually dip into and take a bucket of water out, and that's what it comes down to."

The government said school funding was at its highest ever level in cash and real terms.

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