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School jobs fears as education axe falls

PUBLISHED: 11:18 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 August 2010

UNION members fear £670 million of cuts earmarked in the Department of Education will lead to the axing of teaching assistants and canteen staff. Chancellor George Osborne unveiled £6.2 billion in public sector cuts on Monday as the first step to tacklin

UNION members fear £670 million of cuts earmarked in the Department of Education will lead to the axing of teaching assistants and canteen staff.

Chancellor George Osborne unveiled £6.2 billion in public sector cuts on Monday as the first step to tackling the nation's record £156 billion deficit.

And teachers want firm assurances about the future of Kent's £1.8 billion Building Schools for the Future Program, the largest building scheme in Europe, involving four Gravesend schools.

National Union of Teachers (NUT) Kent division secretary John Walder says there have been on-going regular rounds of early consultation meetings with schools about lower staff levels - but he's concerned these will speed up now budgets will be squeezed even tighter.

He said the on-going problem has been caused by fewer families being attracted to new housing estates around the area.

Mr Walder said: "There are plenty of areas in Kent where no children are coming through the system. The new housing estates have been magnets for young, childless couples."

Another NUT spokesperson added: "It is no secret that a lot of schools are in financial difficulties and are having to make cutbacks of one sort or another. Schools are getting to grips with their new budgets. It's a problem that is not going to go away."

She fears teaching assistants and other ancillary staff cuts would impact on teachers. Cuts are also expected to the wide-ranging South East Plan blueprint which now puts in question regeneration in areas such as the Thames Gateway in north Kent.

Protect Kent, the county's branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, believe the plan could wipe out housing targets.

A spokesperson said: "It will be interesting to see how this pans out. It could be good, it could be chaos. The devil will be in the detail.

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