Education minister’s glowing tribute to school support staff

The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, has delivered a glowing tribute to school support staff in a specially-recorded film released today (Friday).

Her video forms part of UNISON’s Stars in Our Schools day, an annual UK-wide celebration of the unsung but important role of teaching assistants, administrators, caterers, midday supervisors, cleaners and caretakers in our children’s education.

Today, schools 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. UNISON has delivered cakes and goody bags to hundreds of schools in preparation. Many schools have taken part in competitions organised by UNISON, encouraging their students to design posters featuring support staff.

In her video message, Kirsty Williams says,

“The work carried out every day by support staff in schools across Wales is vital.

“My grandma, Mary Hall, was a school cook in Blaenymaes Primary School in Swansea and she loved being part of that community. So I know how hard our support staff work in our schools every day.

“Schools simply could not function without the contribution of teaching assistants, cooks, cleaners, technicians, receptionists, caretakers and others.

“These committed staff members help make our schools the successes they are and I welcome this UNISON initiative as a way of recognising their work.”

Rosie Lewis, UNISON Cymru Wales lead organiser for schools said,

“UNISON’s Stars in Our Schools day shines a light on the wonderful work of all school support staff. Too often, the valuable contribution that is made by every single member of staff in school is hidden.

“Today we are delighted that head teachers and teachers, as well as the Minister for Education, want to champion the positive role of the whole school staff team in making schools safe and happy places for students to learn. UNISON is dedicated to campaigning for decent terms and conditions for all school staff.”

Assembly Members Hefin David and Jane Hutt are supporting UNISON’s Stars in Our Schools day visiting schools in their constituencies and speaking to staff as are Bridgend Mayor Stuart Baldwin and councillors.

Notes for editors

  • UNISON Cymru Wales has released Kirsty Williams’ Stars in Our Schools thank you video
  • Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams last week took time out of her schedule to have a coffee and cake with school support staff at Coastlands school, Haverfordwest
  • UNISON Cymru Wales’ Stars in Our Schools is an annual event held in November


Special assemblies and/or celebratory coffee mornings are happening at schools in the following areas. Additional detail is provided on events attended by politicians 

  • Anglesey /Ynys Mon
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Bridgend schools held a poster competition and Mayor (Cllr Stuart Baldwin) will attend a special assembly at the winning school, Pil Primary, along with Cllr. Dr. Charles Smith, Cabinet Member, Education & Regeneration, Cllr Jane Gebbie and Cllr Mike Kearn.
  • Caerphilly and Hefin David AM will be at Trinity Fields Special School Christmas Fete/Stars in Our Schools
  • Cardiff including Cardiff High School where students and staff recorded a video interviewing several support staff.
  • Conwy
  • Cwm Taf
  • Denbighshire
  • Flintshire
  • Gwynedd
  • Monmouth
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Newport including one school where children have been preparing videos to be shown to the staff at the end of the day
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Torfaen
  • Vale of Glamorgan and Jane Hutt AM is attending a Stars in Our Schools event



Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397



Photo credit: Jonathan Lewis. On 21 November, Kirsty Williams attended an event in Coastlands Primary School Pembrokeshire to see a school project on food supply chains. While in the school the Minister took the opportunity to speak about the importance of support staff  in all of our schools and how schools are like families working together for the good of the children. She then went on to spend some time with support staff and to thank them for the vital work they do within our schools.