Neath Port Talbot becomes latest Welsh council to agree to pay fees

Neath Port Talbot set to pay as registration fees for school support staff as UNISON campaign continues

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council has committed 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.

Welcoming Neath Port Talbot council’s decision, local UNISON branch chair Mark Fisher said: “While we believe registration is a positive step forward, the fee is a significant annual cost to these individuals who are predominantly low-paid, term-time workers.

“We are very pleased with the council’s commitment and its acknowledgment of the important contribution of support staff in our schools.”

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.”