PROPOSED JOB CUTS AT CHISLEDON WILL BE UNSAFE


GMB WARNS PROPOSED JOB CUTS AT CHISLEDON PRIMARY SCHOOL WILL PUT PUPILS AND STAFF AT RISK DUE TO LOW STAFFING LEVELS

In other schools, TAs are valued, but the management of Chisledon doesn’t seem to value them, says GMB Southern

GMB, the trade union for school support staff, has warned that proposed job cuts at Chisledon Primary School will result in dangerously low staffing levels that will put both pupils and staff at risk. The union will be running a vigorous campaign to reverse the job cuts.

Chisledon school currently has 7 teaching assistants (TAs), and an apprentice. This will be reduced to just 3 teaching assistants from September, and there will also be one fewer qualified teacher.

GMB trade union has questioned why the school could afford 7 Teaching assistants in 2014, when the current head teacher Spencer Allen started there, but can now only afford 3. For the last two last two years the school has been running a nursery in Penhill, and is running free buses between the two sites.

GMB has written to the Swindon Borough Council seeking talks to find a solution, and was surprised to be informed that instead of talks, the matter has been referred to the council’s legal department to draft a response to the union.

GMB has pointed out that the governors are prioritising luxuries over maintaining basic staff levels to maintain safety, and to support pupils who need extra help. The trade union has demonstrated to the school that using TAs instead of private sector music lessons to cover for teachers during lesson preparation time would save £7000, making a significant cost saving, and saving jobs.

Andy Newman, GMB Branch Secretary, explains:

“The school will be operating on what is literally the minimum possible staffing, with one teacher per class of children working without a Teaching Assistant, and the Deputy Headteacher & Headteacher will also be responsible for a full class. One TA will be permanently in reception, and the other two TAs will be tied up with small group work outside the classroom. Clearly, many pupils at the school who currently benefit from the help of a teaching assistant will be getting a worse education from September.
 
“Personally, if I was a parent in Chisledon, I would seriously worry about sending my child to the school if these job cuts go ahead.
 
“If there is an incident in any classroom, then the teacher would have to leave their class of up to 30 pupils, including abandoning the children involved in the incident, to go to another classroom to seek assistance, which would involve that teacher leaving their class as well.
 
“GMB has on several occasions drawn attention to the rising problems of violence in Swindon schools. Just in the last few weeks, a pupil at Chisledon has thrown a chair at a teacher on more than one occasion. Yet the head teacher has advised GMB that only once in the last 5 years has a teacher asked for assistance, this is not consistent with what staff and teachers in the school are telling their unions.
 
“GMB is particularly concerned of the culture in this school, where one member of the school’s leadership team recently told TAs that they could be replaced with an Alexa device. In other schools, TAs are valued, but the management of Chisledon doesn’t seem to value them. GMB is even more concerned about this lack of respect for TAs, given that Mr Allen is an Oftsed inspector, who goes into other schools.
 
“Since Spencer Allen started at the school in 2014 GMB has received a continual stream of complaints about overbearing management style. Although it is a small school, an incredible 32 staff have left during that time. We have also seen an increasing number of parents who would prefer to drive to Albourne or Wroughton schools, rather than walk around the corner to their local village school.
 
“We are also very concerned about the complacency of Swindon Borough Council. GMB wrote to them a week ago seeking talks about how we could get together to help this school overcome its difficulties, and raising legitimate concerns about pupil and staff safety; yet we have had no official response, and have been told that instead of constructive dialogue, the Borough Council will be sending us a solicitor’s letter. Frankly, the Council’s staff and parents deserve a better response than that.”
 

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Free transport to Tolpuddle festival

1607Tolpuddle058Wiltshire and Swindon GMB are putting on free transport to the Tolpuddle Festival on Sunday 21st July 2019

To book your place, please contact Martha de Bruxelles on 0794 4072 823 or email her on martha.de.bruxelles@gmbactivist.org.uk

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, at 09:00.

Ellendune Health Centre Car Park, Wroughton at 09:10.

Market Place, Devizes at 09:40.

Comfort stop around 1015.

Tolpuddle around 11:30.

You can access details of the festival from the TUC 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.

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Next GMB branch meeting

BRANCH MEMBERS’ MEETING

7:30 PM on Wednesday, 10th July 2019

at the Bear Hotel, Market Place, Devizes, SN10 1HS

Branch Secretary: Andy Newman                    

Branch President: Gerry Ball

AGENDA

 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

APOLOGIES FOR ABSE NCE

MINUTES OF LAST MEETING held on 19th June 2019

  • Accuracy
  • Matters arising

BRANCH SECRETARY’S REPORT

TREASURER’S REPORT

INDUSTRIAL AND WORKPLACE REPORTS

TRAINING

LABOUR PARTY

HARDSHIP APPLICATIONS

CORRESPONDENCE

TOLPUDDLE

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

NEXT MEETINGS

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 11th September 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 Friday 18th October 2019, at the GMB Swindon office at 2:30 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

Neston

Corsham

Wiltshire

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

England-Defeats-Sweden-Progresses-to-World-Cup-Semi-finals

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 Gmbmartha@outlook.com

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
Swindon
 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  changingtheculture@outlook.com

 

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