GMB call on schools to monitor safety risks caused by support staff cuts
GMB call on schools to monitor safety risks of cuts to school support staff on children and staff during lunch breaks
Schools are now expecting reduced numbers of staff to supervise the same number of pupils during lunch breaks and playground duties, says GMB London
GMB are calling on Local Education Authority (LEA) schools, academies, voluntary aided schools, foundation schools, special schools to look at the ratios of midday assistants who supervise children at lunchtimes. The union are asking for a clear policy that provides a maximum number of support staff along with control measures under a risk assessment that protects the health and safety of staff undertaking playground duties.
GMB have received reports that owing to budget reductions and redundancies amongst midday assistants, who are the lowest paid members of support staff, many schools are now expecting reduced numbers of midday assistants to supervise the same numbers of pupils during lunch breaks and playground duties, the effects of which is impacting on their health, safety and welfare.
Keith Williams, GMB London Senior Organiser said:
“GMB have received an increase of complaints from our members where incidents have occurred owing to budget reductions and redundancies amongst midday supervisors, as schools continue to make budget savings, due to the reductions in the funding formula applied by central government.
“Schools are now expecting reduced numbers of staff to supervise the same number of pupils during lunch breaks and playground duties.
“GMB has been informed that in many schools one member of staff can now be expected to supervise up to 150 children which obviously puts staff and children at risk. This is unacceptable, as the employer has the ultimate responsibility for pupils and staff’s health and safety.
“Schools and the LEA for too long have hid behind the fact that there is nothing laid down by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) regarding setting the minimum ratio of Midday Assistants to pupils. Whilst the DfES set no minimum ratios of staff to pupils they have also set no maximum either.
“The Department for Education’s advice is that the number of staff on duty at any one time should be determined according to the results of a risk assessment. One of the control measures an employer can put in place under a risk assessment is to ensure the adequate welfare of pupils and staff that provide this invaluable service.
“There is a legal obligation on all employers to undertake risk assessments in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the associated Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.”
Contact: Daren Parmenter 07725 791 833 or Colin Greer 07974 249 745 or GMB London Press Office 07970 114 762