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WATCH: Head Teacher hits out - “We’ve had enough of being taken for granted”

WATCH: Head Teacher hits out - “We’ve had enough of being taken for granted”

Friday 26 October 2018

WATCH: Head Teacher hits out - “We’ve had enough of being taken for granted”

Friday 26 October 2018

A head teacher has slammed the States for "rewarding" staff crippled under the burden of paperwork and rising standards with repeated pay offers below rises in the cost of living, in a blistering attack on behalf of the island’s school leaders.

His comments came during an all-union public sector meeting at the Radisson Hotel last night with many on the cusp of strike action after talks that morning with the States Employment Board ended in a stalemate.

Speaking to an audience of around 500 public sector workers primed for strike action over the proposed public sector pay deal, D'Auvergne head teacher Sam Cooper recounted how he and his fellow head teachers were usually a “cooperative and “reserved” body, but had now reached the end of their tether. 

“We have had enough of being taken for granted,” the Jersey Association of Head Teachers representative said.

Mr Cooper added that his fellow leaders had also “had enough” of increased levels of bureaucracy “without the appropriate time to respond” and of looking out for the wellbeing of other staff without the States considering the impact for those at the top.

Video: Last night's meeting, to which all public sector unions were invited. (JCSA Prospect)

His speech catalogued a series of increasing pressures “year-on-year”, with heads expected to exercise business, HR and other administrative functions for schools, while also focusing on pupil and staff welfare, standards of education and the increased focus on safeguarding with its associated paperwork.

Mr Cooper said that such functions were usually split across various roles in the UK, but remained the responsibility of single individuals in Jersey. 

But he said those increased demands hadn’t gone hand-in-hand with more resources. “Year after year we’re being asked to do a heck of a lot more than we’ve ever been asked to do before with a heck of a lot less.” 

With this in mind, he said that the future of the profession was at risk, stating that recruitment and retention were “at crisis point.” 

According to Mr Cooper, staff currently have “little to no motivation to move into senior roles because of the associated pressures.”


Pictured: Teachers say that paperwork is taking up more and more of their time.

“It’s just not worth the hassle,” he continued, pointing out that there was “minimal” financial difference between a senior teacher and a deputy head.

Mr Cooper also noted that he had “teaching colleagues around the island who are physically and verbally abused day after day.”

“Their reward? To earn in a month what consultants earn in a day.”

He added that their 1% pay rise offer was a “cut in real terms.” “Their reward is an insult.”

Mr Cooper added that teachers had only had one pay rise in line with rises in the cost of living since 2008, and that salaries were fast falling behind the UK and around 12 to 18% behind the private sector, contrary to what the States had previously reported. 


Pictured: Mr Cooper highlighted attacks on teachers in his speech. As previously reported by Express, one in ten teachers has been attacked by a pupil.

“What significant work was actually done to arrive at that offer?” he questioned.

Last week, States Chief Executive Charlie Parker told all public sector workers in a letter that the government could not afford to pay out any more than already on the table– something hotly disputed by the Springfield Head. 

“We’re told that there is no more money – surely that depends on who or what the States prioritise as being important?”

It’s a question that was equally raised by other union representatives speaking at the event.

Those in attendance also heard from Andy Woolley, Southwest Regional Secretary for the National Education Union, the President and Vice President of JSCA Prospect, the largest civil servants union on the island, as well as Terry Keefe from Unite.

A nurses union representative was unable to attend, to the dissatisfaction of one audience member, but Chair Alison Pell and Convenor Terry Hanby this morning released a statement on behalf of the Jersey Nursing Association outlining their dissatisfaction with the pay deal, which he said would see most nurses getting “on average 1.6%.” 

Similar to other unions, he said that strike action was imminent. 

“The anger amongst nurses is currently so intense, that a traditionally conservative professional group are now openly talking about strike action.  We feel that the employer has backed nurses into a corner in full knowledge that our colleagues in the RCN are handicapped in their available responses as their constitution prohibits the withdrawal of contracted labour,” he said.

JCSA have today opened a ballot on industrial action.


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Posted by Michael Du Pré on
Higher progressive taxation with the additional proceeds generated going into education is really the only answer to this question.
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