The vital contribution of support staff will today be recognised by schools across the North East at both online and socially-distanced events.
Local MPs and council leaders are also expected to participate in UNISON’s annual Stars in Our Schools celebration and have recorded video tributes.
This exceptionally challenging year has highlighted how it takes a whole team to make a school a safe and happy place for children to learn, says UNISON.
Cleaners, catering workers, teaching assistants, administrators and technicians have all helped keep schools open in exceptionally challenging circumstances, adds the union.
Support workers have ensured school buildings are safe and regularly cleaned to protect pupils and staff from infection, and kept parents updated about the latest Covid regulations.
Other important roles they’ve performed have included supporting the children of other key workers, ensuring no child entitled to a free school meal went hungry and keeping IT systems running to maintain contact with pupils.
UNISON northern regional secretary Clare Williams said: “The pandemic is far from over, but the response of education staff has been phenomenal. Across the North East there are many workers going the extra mile to look after children in their care.
“The government shouldn’t forget the exceptional contribution of these staff. They’re so often the unsung heroes of our schools.”