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School staff vacancies in Calderdale are the highest in West Yorkshire

School staff vacancies in Calderdale were the highest in West Yorkshire
School staff vacancies in Calderdale were the highest in West Yorkshire

Critical underfunding in Calderdale school's that is leading to cuts in staff numbers will have long term damage to pupils' education according to unions.

The latest Government school census figures, based on data collected in November, considered teacher numbers, staffing rates, and student to teacher ratios.

READ MORE: Fight against underfunding 'crisis' in Calderdale's schools
Across the region, the census figures varied widely. In Calderdale, figures show that as many as 390 staff roles were lost in the area’s schools between November 2016 and 2017, while in Leeds that figure overall was just one.

“Calderdale Council is regarded as a high performing authority in the region, for the academic progress its children and young people make,” a spokesman said.

“Whilst teaching staff recruitment and retention remains the responsibility of individual schools, as a local authority we work closely with our maintained schools and local primary and secondary academies, to ensure the delivery of the very best education to the children and young people of Calderdale.”

READ: 'Financially unsustainable' sixth form centre to close in Calderdale
As well as the loss of nearly 400 teacher and teaching assistant posts, 438 auxiliary jobs were lost in Yorkshire and the Humber last year, in roles such as technicians, counsellors and administrators.

Yvonne Carr from the Calderdale National Education Union said: "We are concerned about the number of redundancies of both teaching and support staff.

"The knock on effects of these in terms of children's education may not be immediately apparent, but we should not underestimate the long term damage.

"We are also alarmed that Damien Hinds, Secretary for Education, has still not released details about the teachers' pay increase, due to be paid from September, despite having been given recommendations from the STRB at the beginning of May.

"This means that schools are breaking up for the Summer holidays not knowing what the increased salaries bill will be, how it will be funded, or whether they can balance the school budget.

READ: Drop in the number of Calderdale pupils eligible for free school meals, figures reveal

Geoff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, cited figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found that school funding per pupil has fallen by eight per cent in real terms over the past eight years.

“This has resulted in staffing reductions in many schools,” he said. “In addition, the Government has failed to achieve targets for recruiting secondary school trainee teachers for the past five years in a row, and we are losing too many teachers because of workload pressures driven largely by the excessive volume of government reforms in recent years.

“As a result of these factors, the number of teachers fell in 2017 even though the number of pupils increased.

“Pupil-to-teacher ratios have risen over the past three years and so have average class sizes in secondary schools.

“The number of secondary pupils is expected to increase by a further 428,000 over the next seven years which will intensify these pressures.”