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Education cuts forced back in Hackney
Even before the Tories' proposals for education cuts have been agreed, over a dozen schools and children's centres and central support staff teams have suffered restructures and job cuts across Hackney, east London.
Dionne Thompson, Unison joint education convenor for Hackney, whose own job was cut and is now facing redundancy, spoke to the Socialist.
I have worked in education for 14 years at Stoke Newington school and for just over two years I have been on full union facility time representing members across the borough in over 80 schools.
In May of this year the head teacher and chair of governors at my school presented a consultation document that would impact directly on 30 support staff with up to 12 facing redundancy and a large number facing wage cuts.
Behaviour mentors were to be reduced from five to two, the faculty support assistants team was to be more than halved and made term-time only, which will cut admin support and cover for classes and exam preparation.
A lot of back up support that is provided in the holidays would have been lost, such as updating IT systems and other staff equipment for the September start.
More responsibilities were to be placed on already overworked teachers across their lunch breaks. We would lose five deputy heads of year.
A major campaign to fight against this proposal by education unions Unison and NUT, alongside parents at the school, included two lobbies and an NUT strike on the day of the governors meeting. This all played a role in forcing a significant retreat.
The action, combined with the trade unions' consultation responses and letters of protest, has led to significant concessions with three job losses, not 12, and no changes to terms and conditions.
In future, headteachers and governing bodies should not just go off and draw up proposals until they have consulted all staff and parents.
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