GMB Slam As Unsafe Decision By Penhill Nursery To Open With One Member Of Staff On Site
This is exactly the type of problem GMB anticipated when we warned the school and Swindon Council about earlier this year, says GMB Southern
GMB, the trade union for school support staff, has slammed as unsafe the decision of Penhill Nursery in Swindon to open with only one member of staff on the premises.
Penhill Nursery is part of Chisledon School, and GMB earlier this year warned that staff cuts by that school would expose both staff and pupils to risk.
Andy Newman, GMB branch secretary explains: "Penhill Nursery usually operates with only two members of staff on the premises, a newly qualified teacher, and a teaching assistant, and there are 12 pupils. This is the minimum legal staffing level under the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which covers nurseries.
"However, last week one of the staff did not come to work, due to an accident, and the nursery opened with only one member of staff. The school later did send over a replacement member of staff from Chisledon by minibus, but for a considerable length of time there was only one member of staff on the premises. Frankly this is unsafe for both staff and pupils, and does not meet safeguarding requirements. The nursery should not have opened until they had adequate staff present.
"In GMB’s view that is the clear position of the law. What would have happened if a child had an accident? How could the sole member of staff there supervise the other children if one child needed personal attention? How could the member of staff go to the toilet, leaving 12 small children unsupervised?
"Following redundancies, Chisledon School is operating with the very bare minimum of staff, with no slack to deal with unexpected incidents and emergencies. This is exactly the type of problem GMB anticipated when we warned the school and Swindon Council about earlier this year.
"Swindon Borough Council advise us that they approve the staffing level of a newly qualified teacher and a teaching assistant, as compliant with the law. However, they opened with only one member of staff, which is one short of their own requirement.
"GMB continues to be horrified by the cavalier attitude to health and safety legislation regarding safe staffing numbers from Swindon Borough Council's Education team, and will continue to campaign on this issue so that the safety of both pupils and staff is safeguarded."
Contact: Andy Newman 07540859227 or GMB Southern Press Office on 07866441656
Notes to Editors
Previous GMB Press Release: GMB warns job cuts at Chisledon Primary School would put pupils and staff at risk – 2nd May 2019 https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/news/gmb-warns-job-cuts-at-chisledon-primary