New school facilities plans approved

Service review

School playground

Schools in North Lanarkshire will benefit from better management of their facilities after the council approved the findings of a major review today (Wednesday).

The report was presented to the Transformation and Digitalisation of the committee following extensive consultation with trade unions and staff, with 12 sessions with trade union representatives and 14 sessions with frontline staff having taken place since August 2018. The review will see a modern janitorial service introduced, with better and flexible support for schools and community lets, along with an enhanced role and improved basic pay for janitors.

Primary schools will have the ability to share resources on a cluster basis. This will still mean that there will be a ratio of one staff member per facility but these will operate on a team approach.

Janitors will still carry out current duties but will have additional responsibilities aimed at maintaining buildings and grounds, with head teachers having clear sight of scheduling to ensure that every single school benefits.

Councillor Kenneth Duffy, convener of the committee, said: "We understand that this has been a contentious issue, with a lot of misinformation being presented particularly on social media. However, this is a big step forward for our schools and janitors. There is no doubt that the work our janitors do is invaluable to the overall school experience and the implementation of this review will mean all schools can benefit from a modern, comprehensive service.

"While there will be an overall reduction in the number of janitorial staff across North Lanarkshire, janitors themselves have a more enhanced role and, consequently, better basic pay. And, of course, the council is committed to there being no compulsory redundancies. There will be better careers for staff with clear development and progression available.

"This team approach also gives janitors more flexibility to deal with things like evening lets, ensuring that schools can be much more flexible to the needs of communities.

"There has already been extensive communication and dialogue with staff and trade unions throughout the review and that will continue as the findings are implemented."

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