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No to North Ayrshire School Cuts

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

GMB Scotland North Ayrshire School Support Staff Fear For Child Safety And Quality Of Education From £500,000 Budget Cuts

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning should intervene to halt these dangerous cuts within North Ayrshire Council’s schools says GMB Scotland.

GMB Scotland, the union for school support staff, is asking North Ayrshire Council to pull back and Angela Constance MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government, to intervene on budget cuts for school support staff.

This is after members expressed concern for safety in schools and a detrimental impact on education. See notes to editors for the details of the consultation and GMB press release dated 30th October 2015 on the £500,000 cuts to the education budget.  

GMB Scotland members are employed as clerical assistants, pupil welfare and home inclusion officers. They were asked four questions in a consultation in December 2015, including ‘Do you think parents would be concerned about their child’s safety if there was a reduction in front line services at their child’s school?’.  100% of the responses answered ‘Yes’ to this question.

Paul Arkison, GMB Scotland regional organiser, said “The findings from our survey show that there is real concern about the safety of school pupils if there are cuts to frontline services within North Ayrshire’s schools.  

This should be seriously worrying as this evidence has been provided by those who know best – the GMB Scotland members who work in the schools.

This is the harsh reality of what happens when huge spending cuts are put in place. The impact of these cuts will be felt far and wide.  

With staff numbers reducing and hours being cut our members will see an increased workload with less pay. In addition, members have identified that the safety of school children will be placed in jeopardy, which is a concern to everyone.

There is clear evidence coming through that if these cuts are progressed then there will be a severe negative impact on a child’s learning experience.  

With this evidence now clear, GMB Scotland has again written to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning asking her to directly intervene to halt these dangerous cuts within North Ayrshire Council’s schools.”

End.

Contact: Paul Arkison 07801 656533 or Alex McLuckie 07885 348269 or GMB Scotland 0141 332 8641 or GMB Press Office 07921 289880 or 07974 251823 or 07860 401860.

Notes to editors

1 Questions GMB Scotland asked members in North Ayrshire schools to answer in December 2015:


I) Do you believe that any cuts to Clerical Workers, Home School Inclusion Workers and Pupil Support Welfare staff will have a detrimental effect on the services provided by each school?    100% answered YES

II) Do you think that North Ayrshire Council is fully aware of what you do on a daily basis?             100% answered NO

III) Do you think parents would be concerned about their child’s safety if there was a reduction in front line services at their child’s school?                                                                                                  100% answered YES

IV) Do you think North Ayrshire Council is fully aware of the consequences of reducing and centralising frontline services within schools?                                                                                                  100% answered NO


2 GMB press release dated 30th October 2015

GMB Scotland Requests That Scottish Government Education Secretary Intervenes In Education Cuts In North Ayrshire 

these cuts are hammer blow to the highly dedicated staff who work so hard in already very difficult circumstances to provide such an important service says GMB Scotland 

GMB Scotland, the union for school support staff, has contacted Angela Constance MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government , to request that she intervenes in the crisis that surrounds North Ayrshire Council's proposal to cut its education budget by £500,000.

This GMB' Scotland request has arisen  after North Ayrshire Council announced to its Education Business Support Staff, School Office Staff and Pupil Support Staff that huge cuts would be happening within a much quicker timescale than expected.

Paul Arkison of GMB Scotland said: "The announcement of these cuts is a hammer blow to the highly dedicated staff who work so hard in already very difficult circumstances to provide such an important service.

With huge cuts affecting every part of the public sector, this will be particularly alarming for pupils and families and it is my trade union's view that this will, without any doubt, have a hugely negative effect on the educational provisions in North Ayrshire and looks to threaten many highly valued jobs.

GMB Scotland  has now written to Angela Constance MSP to request that the Scottish Government hold talks with the Trades Unions, North Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government to see if an alternative solution can be found, rather than attacking schools to make savings.

Given that in August of this year the First Minister stated that education was to be a priority for her government, how can this be deemed to be a relevant claim when such a significant amount of money is being taken out of this council's education budget in an accelerated timescale?  

Sadly the geographical area of North Ayrshire has some of the highest levels of unemployment and economic inactivity in Scotland and coupled together with these proposals from North Ayrshire Council, the First Minister's comments whereby she pledged to close the schooling gap between the rich and poor areas of Scotland seem to be far removed from reality in North Ayrshire."

 

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