Thursday 28th October 2010
Gove leaves schools and local authorities in lurch once again as government abolishes pay review body for 450,000 school staff, says GMB
Goveis wrong to say now that the SSSNB isn’t needed and he’s wrong to abolish it before it’s even had a chance to put forward recommendations
GMB commented on the written ministerial statement by secretary of State for Education Micheal Gove announcing that he will abolish the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB) “at the earliest opportunity” . He said this was because it “does not fit well with the Government’s priorities for greater deregulation of the pay and conditions arrangements for the school workforce” [see note 1]. The Teachers’ Pay Review Body and all other Pay Review Bodies have been retained by the new Government.
The SSSNB was created only last year to make recommendations for a new national pay and conditions framework for 450,000 school support staff in maintained schools in England. It covers staff such as teaching assistants, cover supervisors, pupil welfare and support staff, bursers and school business managers, technicians and site managers. The SSSNB is a statutory body similar to the Teachers’ Pay Review Body.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said:
“The Education Secretary who robbed communities of new school buildings now steals fair pay from staff as Government abolishes the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB).
Gove is once again creating chaos in our schools system. This is another careless and shambolic decision, following hard on the heels of the Building Schools for the Future debacle. The disaster-prone Education Secretary recently had to apologise to MPs and council leaders for issuing error-ridden lists of schools affected by his cancellation of the Building Schools for Future programme which is now the subject of a legal challenge.
It leaves schools and local authorities exposed to £200m worth of future equal pay claims. Gove doesn’t realise that it’s more expensive and more difficult for most schools to develop robust and equal-pay-proofed terms and conditions on their own [see note 2].
Everyone except the Education Secretary acknowledges the contribution of professional support staff like Higher Level Teaching Assistants and cover supervisors to raising standards in the classroom [see note 3].
The Tories and Lib Dems supported the SSSNB when they were in Opposition. Gove is wrong to say now that the SSSNB isn’t needed, and he’s wrong to abolish it before it’s even had a chance to put forward recommendations. These serial policy mistakes will cost him before too long.”
Notes to Editors:
1) Gove’s Written Ministerial Statement on the SSSNB is available here: http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a0065939/written-ministerial-statement-abolition-of-the-school-support-staff-negotiating-body-sssnb.
2) On the equal pay bill for abolishing the SSSNB see Local Government Chronicle, “Schools support staff costs could rise”, 7 October 2010: http://www.lgcplus.com/briefings/people/pay/schools-support-staff-costs-could-rise/5020129.article.
3) “The wider schools workforce, including teaching assistants and learning mentors, is making a difference to pupils’ learning”. Ofsted, “Workforce reform in schools: has it made a difference?”, 26 January 2010: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Publications-and-research/Browse-all-by/Documents-by-type/Thematic-reports/Workforce-reform-in-schools-has-it-made-a-difference.