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Press Release Press Release Press Release Press  Release   

4 December 2001


School nurses are the Cinderellas of British nursing who are discriminated against when it comes to pay, according to a new report by the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association.
The majority of the 2,500-strong UK school nurse workforce earns thousands of pounds less a year than other community nurse colleagues, although their day-to-day responsibilities are just as great, says Making The Grade, Grading Guidance and School Nurses Salary Survey 2001.
The survey is spearheading the CPHVA campaign to ensure that school nurses are moved up the nurses’ pay scales from E and F to Scale G.
The survey said: ‘It would appear that although school nurses have to have the appropriate qualifications – many are working for diplomas or degrees – they are unfairly discriminated against in comparison to other similarly qualified community nurses for whom ‘G’ is the minimum grade.’
The survey said that historically school nursing used to be perceived as ‘the sticking plaster’ in the community with a limited role and virtually no career development.
However, in recent years the school nurse’s role has undergone several significant changes "with increased autonomy and added responsibilities" which forms the basis of the grading claim.
The CPHVA blames some trusts for using "wheezes" - such as claiming the clinical grading structure is out of date or that some school nurses work term-time only - to avoid upgrading school nurses.
Instead cost cutting by stealth has been the employers’ approach.Pat Jackson, the CPHVA’s Professional Officer for School Health said: ‘The government has given strong indications that it considers school nurses as being vital to the public health agenda.’
‘School nurses are in the frontline when it comes to providing help and advice on important social issues, such teenage pregnancy, and
alcohol and drug abuse by young people. They have been the Cinderellas of community nursing for too long and deserve to be properly
rewarded for their skills and responsibilities of their role.’
The CPHVA applauds the action of the Scottish Executive in adopting the new model of ‘public health nurse’ where there is "no discernable difference" between the roles of a health visitor and school nurse – and see this as the blueprint for the rest of the UK.

Facts from the survey:

  • Only two-thirds of school nurses are on the minimum F grade or above

  • In Northern Ireland, only 14 per cent of school nurses are on the F grade or above, while in London it is 82 per cent – the capital has the largest percentage of G grades (38 per cent), reflecting local market conditions

  • Scotland has the smallest caseload with 63 per cent of school nurses having fewer than 2,000 school age students, while the Eastern region has the highest caseload with 63 per cent of school nurses having a caseload of more than 3000

  • School nurses are "immensely qualified", with 94 per cent being RGNs, 22 per cent midwives, 49 per cent have the school nursing qualification and 54 per cent have another nursing qualification

  • 86 per cent work term-time and 14 per cent full-time

  • 969 survey replies were received; almost 50 per cent of the CPHVA’s school nurse membership and about 40 per cent of the entire school nurse workforce.



Shaun Noble Communications Officer ( (020) 7939 7043

mobile ( 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA website: amicus-cphva.org

The CPHVA - the UK’s third largest nursing union - represents health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses, district nurses and nursery nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The CPHVA is a professional section of the Amicus trade union