Union blasts education jobs axe

12:44pm Wednesday 14th November 2012

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A union has attacked plans to axe around 1,000 jobs in the Education Department under cost-saving measures.

The department has been conducting a review and plans to save £290 million by 2015/16, reducing its workforce in England by a quarter, affecting jobs in human resources, finance and computing.

A spokesman said: "We conducted a review to make sure we have the capability to deliver well-designed policies that have a real, measurable impact on the children and young people who need it most, while minimising costs to the taxpayer.

"The review found that the DfE has committed and hard-working staff producing high quality work, but that the Department can and should work more effectively and efficiently.

"Over the coming months we will target our staff time and money on only our top priorities, cutting red tape and concentrating on the work that adds the most value. We are reducing the size of our backroom staff (such as HR, finance and IT) and merging offices to reduce the cost of our buildings.

"The DfE had already committed to reducing its administrative budget in real terms by 42% from 2010/11 to 2014/15. Following the review, our target is a 50% reduction to £290 million by 2015/16 and we have already achieved over half of these savings."

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: "Education Secretary Michael Gove appears to want to run the education department as some kind of nightmarish right-wing experiment, playing politics with people's livelihoods and putting at risk the very important services DfE civil servants provide to teachers and the public."

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "While Labour support efficiency savings in the civil service, this document says certain work that isn't a ministerial priority will stop, raising the prospect that programmes and services will be axed. Michael Gove needs to explain to parents how this will affect them.

"Last week the Education Select Committee warned that children's policy was in danger of withering. Now these leaked plans makes no mention of children's policies - services like Sure Start and support for vulnerable children or those in care. It focuses exclusively on academies and free schools.

"Policies must be based on what families want, not out-of-touch ministers."


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