Academies rounded on by GMB union

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THE GMB has hit out at the rising number of schools applying for academy status, claiming that it is a risk to the future employment of support staff.

According to figures released by the union, 4.9 per cent of primary and 15. 8 per cent secondary schools in the borough either were or had applied for academy status by the beginning of June this year.

The union says that it is their experience that support staff are frequently the first group of school staff to have their jobs and terms and conditions threatened when schools become academies.

Paul McCarthy, GMB Regional Secretary said, “GMB as the union for school support staff is closely monitoring the steady stream of Academy conversions as we are always concerned for our members when schools leave the State system.

“They are being forced to do this by government policy and it is leaving schools in the hands of individual head teachers and boards of governors with no accountability to the local community, they do not have to listen to the public or parents.

“Too often with conversions to Academies, support staff are viewed as an educational ‘luxury’, despite their vital contribution to education and learning outcomes and the day-to-day running of a school.

“GMB strongly defends all school support staff and believes they should be more highly respected for all that they do.”