Next GMB branch meeting

2:30 PM on Friday, 15th March 2019

at the GMB office, Suite 22 Cherry Orchard North, Swindon, SN2 8UH

Branch Secretary: Andy Newman Branch President: Gerry Ball




3. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING held on 9th January 2019
– Accuracy
– Matters arising











Wiltshire and Swindon GMB hold four meetings per year open to all members. The branch committee aims to meet monthly.

The next meeting of the Wiltshire and Swindon Branch Committee after this one will be held on Wednesday 8th May 2019, at the Bear Hotel, Devizes, at the usual time of 7:30 pm.

The next ALL MEMBERS meeting after this one will be held on Wednesday 10th April 2019, at the Bear Hotel, Devizes, at the usual time of 7:30 pm.



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Save Lypiatt School

GMB are holding a rally on 14th September calling on the Ministry of Defence to continue funding Lypiatt School for children repatriated to UK from British forces overseas

GMB, the trade union for school support staff, will be rallying outside Lypiatt School in Corsham, calling for the Ministry of Defence to continue funding the school that caters for children repatriated to the UK from British Forces Posted Overseas.

Details of the rally are as follows:


Friday 14 September

9:30 AM

Gates of the Cotswold Centre (the school is inside the Cotswold centre, which is an MOD base)

Services Cotswold Centre




SN13 9TU


GMB members will be holding a banner saying “Save our School”

Andy Newman, GMB Branch Secretary, said: “Lypiatt School, which supports children from service families at the Cotswold Centre just outside Corsham, is in danger of closing. GMB are greatly concerned that the interests of service families and the vulnerable children at Lypiatt School are not being adequately protected. The MOD needs to act quickly to secure the future of this school, and its pupils.

“The danger of closure is due to the announced withdrawal of £60,000 of funding by the MoD Education Support Fund. The school provides specialist support for military families previously posted overseas, but who through relationship breakdown or bereavement, are repatriated by the armed forces to the UK.

“Lypiatt Primary School is the only school in the UK providing education for repatriated service children. Due to the nature of its pupils, and the short time their families stay at the tri-service Cotswold Family Centre, the school has widely fluctuating enrolment numbers, with as many as 30 or as few as 3 pupils during the same academic year. The fluctuation of numbers is starkly shown by the example that in May 2018 there were only 10 pupils at the school, there are now 28.

“GMB believes that there is a social contract with the women and men in our armed forces, the military covenant, that they and their families will be supported, in exchange for the sacrifices they make. GMB calls on the MoD to honour that obligation towards the children of service families.

“Closure of the school would result in these vulnerable children, often dealing with complex and difficult emotional challenges, being dissipated into mainstream schools who are not equipped to support them. In many cases the children have been exposed to parents themselves suffering from PTSD, related to military deployment.

“The fluctuating numbers of children attending the Cotswold Family Centre means that if the children are placed in other local schools, the council will still struggle to provide the appropriate level of funding for staff to support them. This will be detrimental not only to the children housed in the Cotswold Centre, but also disruptive of other local schools.”

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GMB branch meeting postponed to 25th July


GMB Wiltshire and Swindon branch meeting had been scheduled for the evening of 11th July.

This now clashes with England’s World Cup semi final match against Croatia. We have therefore postponed the branch meeting until 25th July.

It will be at 7:30 pm, as usual, in the Bear Hotel, Devizes.

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Free transport to Tolpuddle Festival, 22nd July

1607Tolpuddle058Wiltshire and Swindon GMB are putting on free transport to the Tolpuddle Festival on Sunday 22nd July.

To book your place, please contact Martha de Bruxelles on 0794 4072 823 or email her on

The festival itself is free on the Sunday, and is a fantastic day out for the whole family, with a variety of music, performances, food and drink stalls, a children’s area, and a procession through the village.

Coach timings:

Swindon Bus Station, Bay 17 at 0845.

Ellendune Health Centre Car Park, Wroughton at 0900.

Market Place, Devizes at 0930.

Comfort stop at 1015.

Tolpuddle around 1130.

You can download the flier for the festival here:

The festival commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who wete the brave pioneers of modern trade unionism. In 1834 six farm labourers from Tolpuddle were arrested on a charge of administering an illegal oath. The real offence was forming a trade union to defend their livelihoods. They were sentenced to seven years’ transportation to the penal colonies of Australia. The news provoked an immense outcry, leading to the first great mass trade union protest. The campaign won free pardons and the Martyrs returned home. It was an historic episode in the struggle for trade union rights in Britain and around the world. The story has been marked ever since with rallies and festivals to celebrate the rights of working people and the values of solidarity

Priority will be given for GMB members and their families.

Tolpuddle 2018.jpg

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Changing the Culture – reducing violence in schools

changing the culture low res

Do you work in a school? Are you concerned about the levels of violence and abuse?

There are still spaces if you wish to attend. GMB members are welcome to attend without prior registration, just turn up on the day. Registration is from 9:30 am with a 10:00 am start, at the County Ground, County Road in Swindon –  SN1 2ED  . Lunch is provided.

The Agenda and Speakers details can be downloaded here (PDF)

GMB believes that it is time to change the culture, so that violence against school staff from pupils is seen as unacceptable. We have organised a conference in Swindon on 12th April, during the school holidays, and we would really like school staff affected by the problem to come along. There will be opportunities to explain your own experiences in a supportive environment, if you wish to, but feel free to come along and just listen.

The purpose of the conference is to find solutions, and we have invited experts, as well as representatives of school management, and from politicians from all parties.

Almost half of school support staff in the area covered by Wiltshire Council have experienced violence from pupils in the past 18 months, according to a recent survey conducted by GMB. A year ago a similar survey conducted among Swindon school support staff revealed very similar results.

GMB, the trade union that represents school staff including teaching assistants, caretakers, office staff, bursars, librarians and cleaners, released the figures yesterday from a survey they carried out with their members – with 48 per cent reporting physical violence against them, and only 32% reported that they had experienced no abusive behaviour from pupils.

The details of the multi-disciplinary conference are as follows:

“Changing the Culture”
12th April
10:00 AM
County Ground
 SN1 2ED

Key speakers will include Dr Amanda Holt from Roehampton University, a leading academic expert on violence by children; Gary Rubin, a partner in the law firm Blackfords LLP, Karen Leonard a national officer of GMB trade union; and Councillor Fionuala Foley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services for Swindon Borough Council. 

The conference will also hear from Martha de Bruxelles, a teaching assistant from a Trowbridge School, and Peter Baldrey from Wiltshire NASUWT (the teaching union), as well as experts in child behaviour, and school management.

The conference is free, and is open to anyone working in a school, or in the education sector, and to school governors. Anyone interested in going should email their details to



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Swindon Borough Council proposed pay rates

GMB members working for local authorities are currently balloting on whether or not to accept the pay offer from the National Employers for Local Government Services.

GMB welcomes the fact that we have broken through the government’s pay cap, and that the proposed pay offer benefits most those on the lowest pay scales, we believe that this is the best offer that can be achieved by negotiation.

Swindon Borough Council does not exactly follow the national pay scales, for historical reasons. You can check what the Swindon pay scales, are, and what the proposed pay rise would be here: proposed SBC payscales

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Please take our survey – violence in schools

school survey graphic

GMB is extremely worried about the rising level of violence and aggression in schools. We are seeking stronger action from head teachers, governors and Wiltshire Council, and it would be very helpful for GMB to have recent evidence of your experience in Wiltshire schools, whether schools run by the council, or Academies.

Please complete this survey, and encourage your work colleagues to complete it as well. The survey is open to all staff working in schools, whether you are a member of GMB or not.

There is already a policy in Wiltshire, but we believe that it needs strengthening, and that it is not being implemented. For that reason, we are also launching a survey across Wiltshire schools to get evidence of how serious the problem is across the county. If you work in a school in Wiltshire, please complete the survey, and encourage work colleagues to do the same. The survey is open to both GMB members and non-members.

The survey is here:

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