Politicians put school support staff in spotlight

In a major show of recognition, politicians and teachers across Wales will attend events in schools today (25 November) to praise the hard work of school support staff. Often unheralded, teaching assistants, midday supervisors, administrators, caterers and cleaners are part of the whole education team which makes our schools the success they are. Senior education figures, Welsh Government ministers, Assembly Members and MPs have committed to supporting UNISON’s Stars in our Schools day of celebration. The trade union will be delivering hundreds of cakes and goody bags to schools across Wales.

Assembly Members Dawn Bowden, Lynne Neagle, Mike Hedges and Mick Antoniw, will visit schools in their constituencies and speak to support staff. So too will MP Chris Elmore and Councillor Lis Burnett, Vale of Glamorgan Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Education. Welsh Government Minister Jane Hutt AM said,

“School support staff play a vital role in helping our schools run effectively. From the caterers to finance officers through to teaching assistants, our support staff are the unsung heroes of our school days. They make sure our schools are safe and happy places for our children to learn.”

Hayden Llewellyn Chief Executive of Wales registration body, Education Workforce Council said,

“Nearly 30,000 learning support staff recently joined the EWC Register of Education Practitioners for the first time in Wales. Such staff make a huge and valued contribution to the education and development of young people in our country. It is important that we recognise and celebrate their work and achievements.”

UNISON, the largest trade union for school support staff in Wales, has organised the day to make sure the world knows just how vital these employees are to children’s education. Today schools right across Wales will be holding award ceremonies, putting on special assemblies or holding a coffee morning to thank support staff for their commitment over the last year.

Jess Turner, UNISON Cymru Wales lead organiser for schools said,

“UNISON has organised Stars in our Schools to shine a light on the wonderful work of support staff. We are very pleased so many politicians want to champion the positive role of the whole school support staff team in making schools welcoming and effective places for students to learn. UNISON is dedicated to campaigning for decent terms and conditions for all school support staff.”