Fury as 28 journalists face sack at TES

Times Educational Supplement journalists are furious after being told that 28 out of the title's 86 staff journalists are facing the sack.

New owners of the title Exponent Private Equity revealed the job cut plan at a company-wide meeting today.

It plans to axe the paper's two weekly supplements and replace them with a new 64-page glossy magazine insert. TES management has also revealed plans to spend a claimed £5 million on relaunching the paper in full colour in September.

The weekly newspaper was sold by News International to Exponent Private Equity for £230 million in October.

It is understood that the job cuts will be achieved by creating a new centralised subbing department, and through cutbacks on the picture desk and inthe design department. According to one source at the paper, a nine-strong subbing team will now produce the new 64-page magazine, the TES, the Scottish TES and the Further Education Supplement.

A spokesman for the TES NUJ chapel, which has official recognition, said: "Every section if the TES is absolutely furious about the way that this has been done and has no faith in the plans whatsoever – it seems to be nothing more than a massive cost-cutting excercise at a time when the company is still making massive profits.

"It feels a bit like they just want to wipe out the past."

The TES has seen sales decline from more than 100,000 four years ago to an annual ABC figure of 87,473 for 2005.

The company has said that the redundancies will come because of “the simplified process we will use to produce the new TES”.

Chief executive of TSL education Bernard Gray said: “Although the product has evolved over time in response to reader requirements there has been little deep analysis of readers’ needs for some time. Over the past few months, TES has conducted detailed research into teachers’ views on our product, what they like and don’t like and where else they go for news, information and advice.

“That gave us a very clear understanding of what teachers and educationalists wanted from their weekly newspaper. Teachers’ lives are busy – all day, every day. They want a newsy, interesting paper that’s easy to navigate and interesting to read. It needs to have the detail behind education news so that those in the sector can find quickly how issues will practically affect them. And it needs to celebrate teachers’ successes as well as reporting on their problems. But teachers want more.

“They want a magazine that mixes professional issues with how teachers manage their lives. It should be relevant and upbeat with features on the subjects that really matter to teachers in their life at work. The new TES will deliver all this and more.”

The new magazine supplement will “combine personal and professional sides of teachers’ lives” and specialist sections which will be “relevant without being hard work”.

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