SCORES of teachers in the North-East and North Yorkshire are facing the sack - victims of the nationwide schools cash shortage and falling pupil numbers.

The Northern Echo surveyed every local education authority in the region. Only one - Darlington - refused to say how many teachers will lose their jobs.

Many will receive the bad news this weekend because schools have to issue redundancy notices by today.

Durham County Council said it expected schools to make 40 job losses. A spokeswoman said: "Some schools are exercising extreme caution and issuing redundancy notices just in case, but they might not be needed.

"We also know some schools are looking to increase their staff, but we won't know what the overall changes are until we see the final figures in September when the new school term starts."

Although Darlington declined to give figures, a number of schools, including the new £2m Firthmoor Primary, have already warned of possible redundancies.

A total of 55 full-time equivalent teaching jobs will disappear in North Yorkshire as the spending shortfall bites.

However, with the pupil numbers at a number of schools still on the rise, an additional 40 full-time equivalents will be taken on.

That leaves the county having to face a net loss of 15 teaching jobs as the authority struggles to bridge a £2m funding gap this year.

"For the last few years, schools budgets were rising," said director of education Cynthia Welbourn yesterday. "But this year their budgets are stretching just to stand still."

Twenty-three teaching posts are being cut across 14 schools in the Sunderland area.

In Gateshead, ten teachers will be made redundant and a further ten will go through natural wastage. Ten non-teaching staff will take redundancy and a further eight leave through natural wastage.

In Newcastle, eight teachers and ten support staff are threatened with redundancy, all due to falling pupil numbers.

South Tyneside Council said 31 full and part-time teaching jobs would be lost, but all are due to falling pupil numbers. The vast majority of job losses, 25, will be made by not replacing staff.

In North Tyneside, 12 teachers are being made redundant.

On Teesside, there are to be no immediate compulsory redundancies.

Councillor Steve Kay, cabinet member for education on Redcar and Cleveland council, said: "There may be some redundancies in staff by natural wastage, but as far as I know no teachers are to be made compulsorily redundant.

"However, there will be a real crisis if the Government does not fully address the problem next year."