Teaching support staff to
challenge their pay and status
Classroom assistants and SFL auxiliaries from across Aberdeenshire
came along to two well-attended meetings to hear from Laura Hutchison
of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Laura carried out the formal
investigation into the role and status of classroom assistants in
Scottish schools, Valuable
Assets, which found that classroom assistants and SFL auxiliaries
across Scotland are underpaid and undervalued for the work they
do. UNISON is calling for Local Authorities to remedy this situation.
Branch teaching support staff members told Laura that the findings
reflected their own experiences. They spoke of the wide range of
very responsible tasks they undertake within schools to support
the learning of children with support needs.
"The teachers we work with recognise and value the work that
we do but when they find out how little we get paid they are shocked,"
said one classroom assistant. Others added that most people don't
know that they only get paid for term time working and not over
the holidays. "They think we get good, long paid holidays like
the teaching staff," they added, "but that's just not
Many classroom assistants will be appealing their mapping through
single status and the branch will be supporting those who are UNISON
independent assessment of the Job Evaluation Scheme used by
the council has found that the guidance does have the potential
to lead to classroom assistant type posts being evaluated at a lower
level than the role tasks merit, and there is a lot of evidence
in the Valuable Assets Report to challenge the pay and grading of
these staff under single status.
The meetings also uncovered a range of other concerns from teaching
support members. Many are on long-term temporary contracts; many
are being asked to undertake tasks such as first aid without the
necessary training; most feel that there is a need for a proper
career structure with consistent access to training and development
opportunities, properly recognised and supported.
Members were also given information about the Pathways
Course, a UNISON funded training course that will equip members
to pursue equal pay and other service condition issues.
Betty Lyon, branch development officer told the meeting that this
was a critical time for low paid women workers such as classroom
assistants. “This is your opportunity to challenge the status of
teaching support staff and to get better recognition of all the
really important work you do” she said, urging teaching support
members to sign up for the Pathways course and more actively pursue
equal pay and status issues.
The meetings were held in the Kintore Arms, Inverurie on 29th August
and at the Station Hotel, Fraserburgh on 30th August.
To find out more visit www.eoc.org.uk/valuableassets