In February I was successful in being seconded to the post of Branch Lead for UNISON Newcastle City Local Government Branch. In my role my remit is to work with our members and all stakeholders in children’s services and schools. I also have an active role on the regional school forum, also I represent the northern region on UNISON’s national school sector committee with my colleague Jane Shortland from South Tyneside Branch
On Friday 24 November 2023 schools across our region and beyond will be celebrating the Stars in Our Schools. This is a day where we as a trade union celebrate the amazing work and roles all our members in school communities do.
School Support Staff are a vital and essential part of every school’s workforce. and many headteachers hold this group of staff in high esteem as they know without them this would have a detrimental impact on children and young people’s education.
It gives me immense pride to work with all our members in our schools across the city as they do such amazing work with children and young people across their school communities and in may cases this makes the difference to whether some pupils walk through the school gates on a daily basis.
There are so many roles across school support staff all of which are equally as important as each other. They help children learn, keep them safe and happy and make sure schools run smoothly. They are the caterers, admin staff, finance officers, teaching assistants, librarians, ICT technicians and there are many more roles.
Over the last thirteen years this part of the school’s workforce has become the forgotten heroes of education in the eyes of the current government, but this view is not shared by their teaching colleagues. When I visit schools both senior leadership teams and teachers are always reiterating how they could not manage without their support staff colleagues.
Despite the many challenges that school support staff experience and the fact that their pay does not reflect the role they have in schools, we consistently observe, whenever a baton of impossibility is thrown down; we will always find this group of amazing staff pick it up and run with it to champion the families of their school communities. As this is not just a job, but a vocation. One of which if school communities were without would be worse off than anyone could imagine.
That’s why on Friday 24 November, Newcastle City Local Government Branch will be enjoying celebrating the day with our members and their school communities across this city. One of which will encompass the true recognition this group of staff rightly deserve and highlighting the specific roles each and everyone them do.