Corby-based school trust's support staff pay awards 'to be reviewed' as union steps in

Support staff working for Brooke Weston Trust are waiting to hear if they will have a pay increase this year.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 12:10 pm

Members of a union who work across ten schools as support staff, managed by a Corby-based educational trust, have said they are willing to go into dispute with their employers over pay.

UNISON members at the multi-academy Brooke Weston Trust (BWT) are waiting to hear about a desired pay increase.

In July BWT said that they would not give support staff a cost of living pay award - an increase in pay to match an increase in the cost of living and so maintain the real value of earnings in the face of inflation.

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Dr Andrew Campbell CEO of the BWT

BWT runs Brooke Weston Academy, Corby Business Academy, Corby Technical School, Kettering Science Academy, Beanfield Primary School, Compass Primary Academy, Gretton Primary School, Oakley Vale Primary School, and Thomas Clarkson Academy and Peckover Primary School in Wisbech.

Staff, including support staff, have already received an incremental pay increase this year but a survey, carried out by UNISON, showed that over three quarters of members working at BWT were struggling financially.

North Northamptonshire local Government branch secretary Kev Standishday said: “We all know what support staff in our schools have sacrificed over these past 18 months.

"Like NHS staff and carers, they have been on the frontline during the pandemic. Keeping schools open for local children. As the cost of living has gone up, many staff are now struggling financially.

Brooke Weston Trust is based in Coomb Road, Corby

"Brooke Weston have themselves commended the hard work of staff over the pandemic but staff need pay not praise. While we were disappointed that it’s taken so long for the trust to respond, we welcome their decision to look again at the pay award.

"Brooke Weston Trust is already behind other similar employers on pay. The trust needs to come back to offer the staff what they deserve."

Andrew Campbell, chief executive of Brooke Weston Trust, said: “We value all our staff, especially for the dedication they have shown throughout the pandemic. I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all our teachers and support staff for everything they have done and continue to do for our children.

“We continuously review our pay awards and staff, including support staff, have already received an incremental pay increase this year in line with other schools in the region and across the country.

Corby Technical School

“However, as a trust we have been exploring where we can do more, despite the challenging financial pressures we face in schools. We are currently reviewing our pay awards to see if we can go further for our support staff and expect a decision to be made at the next trust finance meeting.”

In September support staff told their union UNISON that they felt undervalued, stressed and are struggling to pay their bills. They also said that if BWT didn’t reconsider the offer, they were willing to go into dispute with their employer.

A survey, carried out by UNISON, showed that over three quarters of members working at BWT were struggling financially with some having to rely on in-work benefits, credit cards and second jobs to make ends meet - 92 per cent said their workload has increased over the last twelve months.

BWT finance board members will be holding a meeting to discuss the pay review on December 8.