NURSERY nurses working in schools complain that they are the victims of bullying and discrimination by teachers.
In the first survey of nursery workers they accuse primary teachers of routinely ignoring them, refusing to delegate work and treating them as "low-paid skivvies", despite their professional training.
Dr Vivien Robins, the nursery inspector who wrote the report, said: "At worst nursery nurses are exploited, at best undervalued."
Dr Robins questioned more than 200 nursery nurses. Nearly 50 per cent said governors and teachers weren't aware of what they did, while one in four felt their contribution wasn't valued.
One commented: "Teachers don't include you. They treat us like second-class citizens."
Dr Robins said: "In many cases heads and governors appeared to be guilty of ignoring complaints. Many nursery workers aren't included in staff appraisal systems and school job descriptions or are left out of staff meetings."
Polly Searle, of the Professional Association of Teachers, which is to publish Dr Robins' research, said a pay increase was needed to raise the status of nursery nurses: "Nursery nurses are increasingly being asked to take on more and more curriculum-based and planning work without any increase in pay or status. Nursery nurses are some of the lowest-paid professionals in education."