Wednesday, 17 June 2015

School support staff don’t have enough hours in the day

#ulgc15 Scotland’s Carol Ball, Vice Chair of the Local Government Service Group Executive, called for support staff in schools to be properly recognised for their contribution to the wider education team, as delegates backed a campaign to reduce school support staff workloads alongside a campaign for increased funding and decent pay.

Carol said that a UNISON survey has shown that 80% of school support staff members are worried about workload. Numbers have reduced leaving more work for those left behind, compounded by a lack of cover in some authorities for absence or maternity leave.

“Support staff are being asked to complete tasks where quite frankly, there are not enough hours in the day, leading to increased stress levels and demoralisation,” warned Carol.

“Most of our members choose to work in schools because they want to support all aspects of children’s learning, a job they take great pride in, but employers exploit this fact and are constantly looking for work to be completed within unacceptable deadlines, knowing that their dedicated staff will do all that they can to do this because they care about the children and young people.”

This results in many doing work at home, and levels of stress have increased, she added.

“We need to convince our members to stop doing unpaid overtime as this impacts on both their home and their work lives. It hides the problem and employers are happy to get work completed on the cheap.”

Carol welcomed the commitment from the Department of Education in England to produce a report on support staff workload. However, “They need to recognise that education cannot and is not delivered by teachers alone. It takes the whole team and we need to keep up the pressure on all UK Governments for our members contribution to be recognised and properly resourced which means increasing support staff numbers not reducing them.”

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