Special needs staff have 25 per cent pay cut

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Nursery nurses working with children with special needs in Northamptonshire are to have their pay cut by 25 per cent - more than 4,000 - from next April because they will lose their special needs allowance.

Following a job evaluation, their knowledge, skills and conditions of working with children with SEN are now reflected in their pay grades.

Under new terms and conditions, nursery nurses in the county are being moved from full-time to term-time-only contracts as part of the county council's plans to implement the single status agreement.

They are being moved from a 32.5 to a 37-hour week contract and will no longer be paid during the school holidays.

Seven nursery nurses from East Hunsbury Primary School who work with children with profound learning difficulties are affected by the cuts. They work in a designated specialist provision with 26 children from reception to Year 4.

Becky Simms, a nursery nurse from the unit, will see her salary drop by £4,126 a year. She said, 'None of us can afford to stay. It's a massive chunk of my wage.'

She said the nursery nurses could appeal and possibly move up to a higher grade, but would potentially earn less money because they would no longer be able to get paid for PPA time or covering for sick teachers.

Theresa Harper, who has worked as a nursery nurse for more than 20 years and has an NNEB, said she felt she would have no choice but to leave if the plan goes ahead.

'We love our job and the kids we work with and it's a fulfilling job, but we have to pay our bills and our mortgages. We have to live. We could take on a second job in the summer holidays, but then we would be taxed as having a second job.'

The change means that the nursery nurses will have their job title changed to special needs teaching assistant level 3. Ms Harper said, 'Between us we have 140 years' experience. We will lose our nursery nurse status.'

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