Wednesday 1 February 2012

Brent schools spend more than £8m annually on agency staff

More than £8m annually is being spent on agency staff in Brent schools a Freedom of Information request has revealed.  The agency staff are employed as teachers, special needs assistants, teaching assistants, administrative staff and other posts.

Unlike staff employed by the school who are Brent Council employees, agency staff can be dispensed with quickly with the school not responsible for redundancy costs or redeployment and the workers concerned having far less protection. In addition they are often not unionised. Schools have been switching to agency staff  and short-term contracts ahead of  expected education cuts that will take place over the next few years.

Because hours and pay rates vary it is not possible to say how many individual jobs are involved.

The privatisation of education through academies and free schools is the subject of fierce debate in Brent and wider afield. These figures show that even in community schools private companies, operating as agencies, are profiting from the state sector.

Although the figures represent only a fraction of the school budget they are considerable. Preston Manor spent £485,347 on agency staff in the financial year 2010-11, Copland High School £289,694, Newman College (formerly Cardinal Hinsley) £289,024 and Furness Primary £246,647. The Village School, with a large number of special needs assistants spent £342,063.

LINK to FOI Response and Excel Spreadsheet

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