MORE than 180 specialist Cheshire teachers who assist vulnerable pupils have been made redundant.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) says it fears for the education of pupils requiring their help at both primary and secondary schools across the county.
And the union says the redundancy notices have been issued late in the day leaving teachers 'with little prospect' of finding a new job by September.
The specialist teachers, mostly part-time, are employed directly by Cheshire County Council who want to replace them with a smaller full-time team.
The specialist teachers give extra assistance to foreign pupils who need help with English; pupils with medical needs who require home or extra tuition at school and excluded pupils.
Colin Newcombe, president of Cheshire ATL, said: 'The county has come up with a duff plan.'
Mr Newcombe said the teachers would be invited to apply for a smaller number of posts meaning the extra burden of supporting a growing number of vulnerable pupils would fall on schools.
He stressed the union feels industrial action would not achieve anything other than harming the pupils concerned. Instead, ATL is hoping to persuade bosses at County Hall to change their minds.
County council spokesman Ian Callister said the current review was aimed at providing specialised, high quality services for vulnerable pupils.
He said: 'The new service will feature teams of specialists, scheduled to be in place by September.
'At present these services are provided by approved 188 teachers/tutors whose weekly work range varies from two or three hours to almost full-time.
'Teachers' unions have been involved at every stage of these discussions and know why redundancy notices have to be issued now to conform to time-scale regulations governing teachers' pay and conditions.'
Mr Callister said the overall numbers of teachers and tutors will drop but the total of full-time equivalent posts will remain at a little over the 50-mark.