New teachers scheme scrapped
A SCHEME to attract new teachers to Essex has been scrapped – despite a continuing chronic shortage of staff in the county's schools.Essex County Council has suspended the rent and mortgage subsidy schemes for new cases from the beginning of this month in a bid to save money – even though there are still over 160 teacher vacancies across the county.
A SCHEME to attract new teachers to Essex has been scrapped – despite a continuing chronic shortage of staff in the county's schools.
Essex County Council has suspended the rent and mortgage subsidy schemes for new cases from the beginning of this month in a bid to save money – even though there are still over 160 teacher vacancies across the county.
But the move has angered the leader of the council's Labour group, Paul Sztumpf , especially as the decision has not been publicised, although a letter was sent to schools on September 16 informing schools of the abolition.
Mr Sztumpf has put a motion forward for the next full council meeting on Tuesdaycalling for the decision to be rescinded and for the matter to be referred to the children and family services and schools policy development group for discussion as a matter of urgency.
Mr Sztumpf said he only found out about the decision when he was dealing with a problem facing some of his constituents who are teachers sharing a house.
"To some extent I accept the real world of managing a budget, but it doesn't mean you just stop the scheme. They could target it to areas where there's a particular shortage of teachers.
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"A blanket stopping of the scheme without ever discussing it is quite wrong," said Mr Sztumpf.
He said he has written to the council's legal officers to find out if the move is lawful.
Cabinet member Stephen Castle said: "We need to save money. The Government has moved substantial amount of funds away from Essex County Council this year. We having to find ways of saving money across the organisation."
Other initiatives to attract and retain teachers in Essex such as a relocation scheme, starter home scheme and child care vouchers remain.
Schools in the south of the county and Tendring face the most difficulties with recruitment. The county's proximity to London and high cost of living are factors thought to contribute to the problem.