Nursery nurses 'feel forgotten'

28th February 2003 at 00:00
TEACHERS have been accused of looking down their noses at nursery nurses, regarding themselves as operating on "a higher plain".

The comments come from Michael White, professional officer for the Professional Association of Teachers in Scotland, the anti-strike union which represents nursery nurses through its Professional Association of Nursery Nurses.

Mr White's call for Scotland's 7,000 nursery nurses to be given higher status coincides with news that the public service union Unison is to ballot nursery nurse members for strike action.

Writing in this week's TES Scotland (Viewpoint, page 22), Mr White says:

"Nursery nurses are the forgotten factor in the success of Scotland's recent improvements in services for under-fives.

"They engage in rigorous professional training. Their programmes of study, modules and assignments would stretch many teachers. Yet they emerge into a career that lacks structure, incentive and progression."

Unison's decision to stage a strike ballot follows a demand for industrial action from nursery nurse members at the weekend. The union has been pursuing a regrading claim for two years and Carol Ball, who chairs its nursery nurse working party, said six months of negotiations with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities had got nowhere. "Nursery nurses are rapidly coming to the end of their tether," she said.

Cosla expressed "extreme disappointment" at the prospect of a strike ballot. James Mutter, chair of the working group, said: "We gave Unison proposals to take away and consider when we last met with them on January 8, to which they have not yet responded."

The authorities claimed last year that the union's regrading claim would cost pound;5 million. A new structure would allow nurses to move from basic grade, and annual earnings averaging pound;12,000, to become heads of establishment.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today