Update from Branch Secretary Paddy Cleary
Update from Branch Secretary Paddy Cleary
I have today written to all Wirral MPs, Councillors and Head Teachers to gain support for our campaign on school funding. Please see below
Dear Head Teacher,
The Government is imposing real terms funding cuts on schools by freezing per-pupil funding while inflation and the cost of employer pension and national insurance contributions increase. This affects all schools and academies alike. A new funding formula will see schools lose £3bn a year in real terms by 2020. 98% of schools will suffer a per pupil funding cut. It is clearly evident that schools are struggling with their finances BEFORE these changes to the formula.
Wirral will see a budget reduction, in real terms of £10,759,698, across all schools by 2020. This equates to a loss of • £252 per pupil • 288 Teachers (based on average salary of £37,250) or • 598 Teaching Assistants (based on average salary of £18,000).
UNISON does not want children in this country to miss out on a decent education, supplied by sufficient and dedicated teachers and support staff. Wirral UNISON is launching a campaign as we do not want to see further job losses or attacks on terms and conditions of our members.
I hope you will press local councillors, MPs and the Chancellor to use the Budget to announce increased education spending. I would also encourage you to support our campaign. I look forward to hearing your response.
UNISON respects the rights of other trade unions to take industrial action and supports the NUTs action. We urge members to support legal protests and rallies organised by the NUT that take place outside your contracted hours of work.
However UNISON members in schools have not been balloted for strike action or action short of strike action and are therefore advised to continue with their normal duties and responsibilities. Nonetheless, UNISON members should not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a result of the teachers’ industrial action.
School support staff should not be expected to provide cover for or take classes, where this would normally be done by teachers who are taking action. In particular, Higher Level Teaching Assistants or cover supervisors should only be taking classes or providing cover where they are contracted to do so, it is timetabled or part of their normal duties. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover classes and frustrate the industrial action of colleagues. Members who are under pressure to cover should contact their UNISON rep, branch or region for further advice and support.
Members are reminded that due to industrial relations legislation only those employees who have been involved in a legal ballot are allowed to take industrial action.
Tuesday, 19 April
4.30pm at the Bebington Suite, Bebington Civic Centre
Wednesday, 20 April
4.30pm at Wallasey Town Hall, Council Chamber
Monday, 25 April
4.30pm at Birkenhead Town Hall, Council Chamber
Tuesday, 26 April
4.30pm at West Kirby Concourse
Wednesday, 27 April
6.00pm at Wallasey Town Hall
There is a petition on the government website calling for plans to force all state schools to become academies to be scrapped.
The petition reads:
"Scrap plans to force state schools to become academies. State schools are accountable to parents, the local community and to local authorities. By forcing schools to become academies the accountability will be to a trust and to accountants. Her Majesty Chief Inspector of schools has concerns over education provided in academies and so should you."
The petition has 60,000 signatures already and is seeking 1 million.
Its going to be hugely popular
Access the petition here:
UNISON have been involved in negotiations with a number of schools where school budgets have been reduced. This is causing the schools to review staffing hours, which affects our members in a number of ways such as reduced hours or in some cases redundancies. UNISON is actively supporting our members through these difficult times. If your school is affected and you havent already informed the Branch please let us know as soon as possible.
A school should be a safe and happy place for children to learn. When it is, it’s often due to the hard work of the tens of thousands of school support staff – from teaching assistants to cooks to admin staff – who strive to make this possible.
And yet many school staff are unsung heroes.
That’s why UNISON is running its third Stars In Our Schools day, to celebrate the contributions of the union’s 250,000 members working as school support staff.
On Friday 27 November – or any time during November that fits with school plans – schools will be holding awards ceremonies, putting on special assemblies and even encouraging staff and pupils to dress up as super heroes. Some schools are asking their local MP and media to join them for the day.
Every head teacher in the country will receive a letter about the day. Talk to your local rep or UNISON branch about how you can get involved.