Absent teachers costing £1.5m

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SCHOOLS in Hartlepool spent more than £1.5m on paying for supply teachers in just 12 months.

Primary schools in the town spent £969,175 in the 2009/10 financial year and secondary schools spent £589,926 making a total of £1.56m to cover teachers in short and long term for illnesses and other reasons for being unable to work.

The highest spending secondary schools in the town included High Tunstall College of Science at £197,786, St Hild’s Church of England Voluntary Aided School on £135,417 and English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College on £113,737.

The highest spending primaries were Sacred Heart RC Primary Schools which spent £92,017, Lynnfield Primary School which spent £75,235 and St Teresa’s RC Primary School which spent £68,115.

It is believed that individual schools have responsibility for what is spent on supply teachers from their budgets, although none of the schools featured were available for comment as it is currently the half-term holiday.

Nationwide, there was £293m spent on supply teachers to during the same period with an average of £100,000 each, according to figures from the Department for Education.

The figures were highlighted by the TaxPayers’ Alliance and campaign group director Matthew Sinclair, said: “Many parents are very concerned when they see their children being taught by a series of different supply teachers, rather than enjoying a stable learning environment with a regular teacher.”

The information was released for the first time this year as part of the Department for Education’s annual school report on school performances.

Simon Cook, author of the report, said: “This new information on school budgets offers an invaluable insight into how our education system is functioning.

“It is clear that schools in more deprived areas are getting a substantial premium in terms of funding.

“But most aren’t able to overcome the challenges of working with more deprived children and deliver better results.

“It is really important that more information like this is released so that we can have a real, informed debate about how we can make public services work.”

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