Schools trying to become Academies

At the time of writing (30 August 2016) we know of several schools that re trying o become academies:

  • Phoenix Primary School, Basildon
  • Shalford Primary School, Braintree
  • Market Field School, Colchester
  • Ryedene Primary School, Basildon
  • Cherry Tree Primary School, Basildon
  • Bardfield Primary & Nursery School, Manningtree
  • Lubbins Park Primary School, Canvey Island
  • Richard de Clare Primary School, Halstead
  • Perryfields Primary School Chelmsford

When the academisation process starts, UNISON should be invited to meetings for consummation with staff. We will attend when we can, but often get little or no notice. if you have been invited to a meeting to discus becoming an academy at any of the schools mentioned above – or any other – please contact the Branch office to ensure we know what’s happening.

Health & Safety Reps in Schools

The Regional Schools Committee and the Regional Health & Safety Committee have been working together to organise a “H&S in Schools seminar” on Thursday 9th April 2015 in the Cambridge Professional Development Centre from 10am – 4pm.

This will be free to UNISON Health and Safety reps and members in schools with an interest in health and safety.

There will be arrange of guest speakers on various H&S issues, including UNISON’s H&S work in Schools, Asbestos, Violence/Challenging behaviour, stress and also a Personal Injury briefing from Thompsons.

If you would like to attend please phone Branch Office on 01245 354044 for an application form.  The Branch will meet the cost of travel to Cambridge.

Yours sincerely

Jane Barnes

Branch Administrator


UNISON is the largest trade union for staff in schools.

Our members include teaching assistants, nursery staff, administrators, secretaries, policy officers, technicians, cleaners, caretakers, school meals workers – in fact anyone working in schools or supporting education.

UNISON is campaigning to make sure the vital contribution these staff make to schools and education is recognised and rewarded by calling for:

  • Better pay and conditions
  • Improved career structures
  • Access to training and development
  • Fair treatment for term-time, part-time and temporary staff
  • High quality, well-resourced education services accountable to the local community

See also our page for the AET Academy Chain


Dear UNISON Member


20 FEBRUARY 2015 – 9.30am – 4.30pm

Chapter House, Chelmsford (behind Chelmsford Cathedral)

You are invited to a seminar to celebrate your role in your school. The role you do is vital and your school could not function without you, so we are holding a seminar to recognise the invaluable work you do, to identify the skills you use in your daily life and at work and to think about how we can network with members in other schools across Essex.

We also want to hear from you about what future training or UNISON roles you would like to find out more about.

There will be a workshop on Managing Difficult Behaviour in Schools – facilitated by an Open University Tutor who works in a school plus other speakers. We will also be holding workshops and activities around various school issues.

The day will be a great opportunity to share good practice and network with other members who work in schools across Essex.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided and we are hoping that this will be an enjoyable, informative and valuable day. Expenses will be met as well as reasonable childcare costs.

The seminar is open to only 30 UNISON members working in schools so your application will be on a first come, first served basis. If we are oversubscribed, we will look at holding another seminar at a later date. Please complete the attached form and send it to me at, alternatively, you can complete the form and post it to either myself or Hazel Pearce, UNISON, Church Lane House, Church Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1NH, or phone branch office on 01245 354044 for an application form.   The closing date for applications is Monday 19th January 2015.

Yours sincerely

Tracey Sparkes

Regional Organiser and Schools Lead

UNISON Eastern Region


This update aims to provide UNISON members and organisers with a brief summary of the latest trade union news in schools.   If you have any comments or questions regarding this update please email
Pay campaign – day of protest 4th February (UK Wide)
UNISON branches across the UK will be holding a day of protest on the 4th February as part of the campaign to secure a fair pay increase for all local authority and school support staff.   Please note this is not industrial action – the protests are being organised outside of working time.
We know that working times are very different for members in schools compared to staff in local authorities.  We therefore urge you to make contact with your local branch to find out how you can get involved in the day.
This campaign applies to both support staff in local authority and academy schools – the majority of academy schools follow local authority pay and conditions. For more information on the pay campaign see the UNISON website:
Pay campaign – appeal for case studies (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
We urgently need members in schools to volunteer to act as case studies in support of our pay campaign.
We need members who are willing to talk about how an 18% real terms pay cut since 2010 has affected you and your family.   We also want you to tell us what “a day in the life” is like working in school – the huge pressures faced every day.  We are hoping to use these case studies to brief politicians and produce publicity for the campaign.
If you are interested or know someone who would be willing to get involved and spare the time to tell their story please contact Sarah Pearce:
School support staff – UNISON individual learning grants
Are you keen to start a course to get on at work or develop your career?  Is finding the cash to pay for it a problem?
Because of the huge increases in course fees and the withdrawal by many employers of financial support for career development, the UNISON Educational Bursaries Scheme is introducing Personal Learning Development Grants to make this easier.
We are piloting these new grants with school support staff.   Ten grants of £300 each are on offer.  They can be used towards course fees and course costs, so you can apply even if you already receive a grant or a loan for fees.  The course you are studying must be a general non-vocational one or a vocational course relevant to employment in public services, including public services delivered by a private contractor.
When allocating these awards, we will take account of how active you are in your branch, in order to reward members who give their time to make this union what it is today. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2014.  You can download the application form from the UNISON website
The experiences of LGBTQ young people in England
A new report shows how discrimination and fear of discrimination is affecting young LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) people’s experience of school and their ability to enjoy and achieve. To read the report in full, see:
Are you a cleaner in a school?
If so, please take part in this survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The form can be downloaded from the link below and returned by email.
Do you have an opinion on GCSEs?(England)
Ofqual will shortly be consulting on the range of subjects that should carry the GCSE title. It is not Ofqual’s aim to stop important, established subjects, but it will be looking at the principles that enable everyone to be clear on what a GCSE is. OCR would like to hear your views and is inviting UNISON members to complete a short survey of 6-9 questions about which subjects should carry the GCSE title. The survey should take no longer than 5-10 minutes:
The devolvement of careers advice to schools (England)
In September 2012 the government devolved the duty to deliver careers advice from local authorities to schools without any additional funding and weak national guidance.  We are seeking information from members about the impact this devolvement of the duty to deliver careers advicehas had on schools.  The survey is short and your input would be helpful.  There is the opportunity to add comments about any changes to the type and scope of service now being provided.(Please ignore if you have already completed this survey)
Win £200 towards your heating bills with UNISON Protect
This winter UNISON Protect are offering one lucky UNISON member the chance to win £200 towards their heating bills. Simply enter the free prize draw by visiting prize draw rules and information about how we will use your data please see our terms and conditions. A UNISON Protect representative will call to confirm receipt of your entry and explain the benefits available through UNISON Protect. By entering this competition you agree to receive a quote for a UNISON Protect family protection product.
Date for your diary –UNISON School Support Staff Seminar 15 May 2014
UNISON’s school support staff seminar will take place in Glasgow on the 15th May.  A circular will be sent to branches shortly.  The programme will cover a wide range of subjects from pay to the administration of medicines in schools (following on from the successful dispute in Glasgow’s schools)
Don’t forget to follow @UNISONinSchools on Twitter and like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest news







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