Unions continue to put pressure on Burnt Mill

Politics / Tue 10th May 2016 am31 07:24am

TRADES Unions are continuing to put pressure on Burnt Mill school over possible job losses.

A year ago, a name check by Prime Minister, David Cameron in the House of Commons would have brought whoops of delight but with so many Harlow residents fearing for their future, many are less than fulsome in their praise for the First Avenue school.

But now a petition against the cuts has gained over 600 signatures.

The Daily Mirror spoke to a number of parents.

Mum-of-three Vicky Savill, 28, whose six-year-old son attends a BMAT primary, told the Mirror: “It’s disgusting.

“They used to have 30 dinner ladies and kitchen staff but that will now be cut to just three.

“All of the parents are very concerned – I’m worried there won’t be anyone there to support my son.

“My son has never been on a horse and doesn’t have music lessons. I would prefer more teaching assistants than fancy trips like this.

In February BMAT, which runs two secondary schools and four primary schools, announced that over 100 positions were under threat.

Jobs at risk include teaching assistants, administrators, learning mentors, site managers, cleaners and midday assistants.

Unison Eastern has launched a petition to save staff adding that the cuts would “put the quality of children’s education at risk”.

Union rep Emma Aboubaker said: “We are dismayed and concerned at the huge cuts planned.

“Any cuts will put the quality of children’s education at risk as well as have a big impact on the local community and economy.”

Ms Mills joined BMAT as headteacher in 2010 before it converted to an Academy in 2011.

She has blamed the cuts on rises in National Insurance, pension contributions and the unfunded cost of living increase.

She said: “We know that we have to work within the budget we have which may not have been cut but in real terms is worth less.

“It is unfortunate for the community because many people potentially losing positions are residents of Harlow.

“We want to be able to continue to offer our extensive enrichment opportunities so children can take part in horse riding, musical tuition and other experiences at no additional cost to parents.”

Some members of staff whose jobs are under threat have been offered alternative employment on lower salaries.

A BMAT spokeswoman yesterday said: “Some roles are being reassigned and we also expect that some individuals will take voluntary redundancy.”

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Britain’s biggest public sector union Unison, “Fewer teaching assistants in classrooms will have a huge impact on learning and increase the workload of already hard-pressed teachers.”

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