Caerphilly joins councils pledging to pay school support staff fees

Caerphilly council’s decision to pay fees comes as a result of an ongoing campaign by UNISON

Caerphilly County Borough Council has today become the ninth Welsh authority to commit to paying the registration fees for its learning support workers, after concerted lobbying by UNISON Cymru/Wales.

From this April, all learning support workers in Wales will be required to be registered with the Education Workforce Council (EWC). The registration fee is an annual payment of £15 per person.

As the union for school support staff, UNISON has been campaigning for local authorities to pay the registration fee for all learning support workers in Wales, and reiterated this message recently to all Welsh Council leaders at a joint meeting.

Learning support workers or teaching assistants do vital but unheralded jobs in our schools, supporting underperforming children and those with special educational needs, and helping teachers cope with large classes.

UNISON Caerphilly branch secretary Gary Enright said: “This is fantastic news and we are so pleased the council has been persuaded by the strength of UNISON’s argument.

“In a landmark agreement, councillors have committed to making an ongoing payment for teaching assistant fees – not only for the first year.

“Teaching assistants do such a fabulous job and schools simply wouldn’t be as successful without them. This was the right decision to back low-paid workers by agreeing to pay their fees.”

UNISON Cymru/Wales lead organiser for schools Jess Turner added: “Yet another council has recognised the need to pay the fees for its learning support workers, following similar decisions by Cardiff, Bridgend, Swansea, Torfaen County, the Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Neath Port Talbot and Gwynedd.

“UNISON will continue our campaigning efforts to ensure learning support workers get the fair recognition they deserve with decent training, a uniform career structure and fair pay.”