Cayley Primary School in Tower Hamlets’ management rejects staff's alternative cost-saving proposals in favour of proposal to axe Nursery staff to save £30k

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Tower Hamlets’ school’s proposal to axe nursery nurses by effectively downgrading the role and  pay them for only 44 weeks of the year is unjust and short-sighted

GMB London, representing school support staff has been working with members at the school on proposals for saving funds alternative to axing these posts. These proposals would allow the school to achieve more than the required savings of over £30K a year but the school management still decided to remove the nursery nurses from the structure altogether and are yet to advise the community of this massive change to early years provision at the school.

The decision to remove nursery nurses is very short-sighted and will have adverse consequences in the long term for the community as a whole. The decision is taken at a time when the newly elected Borough Mayor is pledging to invest more money in education for young people says GMB.

Nursery Nursing is a specialized role which brings specific skills and provides care for children in many aspects of their daily lives, through social, emotional, educational and practical interaction, nurturing and guidance. Removing the role means that the school will instead use Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA) who may be moved at any point to different roles in the school, which could have a significant impact on early years learning.

A GMB member working at the school said:

“I feel demoralised by these proposals, they seem intent on de-skilling us even when we have made a counter proposal that will save them money.’’

Another GMB member working at the school said:

“These proposals are unfair and unjust. This is just about downgrading our pay and not about what is good for the children in the school.’’

Anna Lee, GMB London Regional Organiser said:

“Tower Hamlets is the most deprived borough in London and providing good early years education is fundamental to life chances and outcomes.

“Cayley Primary School which serves a large Bangladeshi and ethnic minority community educates pupils whose first language is not English, one of the reasons why some in the community underachieve academically. Support from nursery nurses with the specialized skills helps the pupils from ethnic minorities to fill the gaps in their early year’s learning.

“The decision of the school’s management means effectively downgrading the role and cutting the pay of nursery nurses where they will only be paid for 44 weeks of the year which means that their pay will be below the national living wage as they will not be paid for eight weeks of the year.”


Contact: Anna Lee, GMB London Region Organiser 078 7017 6720

GMB London Region Press Office: 079 7001 9643

Editors notes:

GMB London - Exposed: Teaching assistants earning below minimum wage