Leeds’s £8m bill for supply teachers

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Millions of pounds have been spent on temporary teaching staff in Leeds, the YEP can reveal.

Around £8.7m of the education budget was used to fund supply teachers to keep the city’s classrooms fully staffed during the 2010/11 financial year.

The biggest spend was from Primrose High School who forked out £277,609 on supply teachers - the equivalent of employing around 12 newly qualified teachers with a starting salary of £22,000.

Other secondary schools with some of the largest spends for supply teachers in Leeds included:

* Swallow Hill Community College with £231,830;

* John Smeaton Community College with £180,690;

* Lawnswood School with £179,533;

* Allerton Grange High School with £179,988.

Some of the smallest claims came from the city’s primary schools.

St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, in Beeston, forked out around £552 on supply staff during the last financial year.

Westbrook Lane Primary, in Horsforth, paid £549 to temporary teachers and Stanningley Primary School paid £684 to supply teachers.

During the previous financial year in 2009/10 £4.3m was spent just on secondary school supply teachers.

Charlotte Linacre, campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “It’s crucial that money from school budgets is spent in the most effective way.

“Employing temporary staff to cover positions does have its place but can be much more costly than paying a teacher.

“It’s worrying if some schools are becoming too reliant on supply teachers, parents may feel concerned about continuity of teaching and taxpayers are landed with a bigger bill.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, said: “It’s important to maintain consistent levels of quality teaching and head teachers have a duty to ensure there is a sufficient number of staff to meet the needs of their children and young people.

“The amount spent on supply teachers in Leeds primary and secondary schools in 2010/11 amounts to just 1.79 per cent of the overall schools budget for that academic year.

“The vast majority of teaching staff in primary and secondary schools are permanent but occasionally there are times when it is necessary to employ staff on a temporary basis, for instance to cover sickness, maternity cover and training.”

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