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Friday 2nd
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

Admin workers stepping in to care for pupils amid shortages

CLERICAL staff are being forced to give first aid to injured children, administer medicines and carry out criminal record checks due to cuts to school support staff.

School administrators, business managers and finance workers are among those stepping in to do the work, a damning study by public service union Unison published today finds.

The union warned that the Tory attack on school funding is putting children’s lives at risk with further cuts on the way — including withdrawal of funding for school dinners.

Public service union Unison carried out a detailed survey of staffing problems in primary and secondary schools across England.

The research involved 1,400 school support staff, including those with direct contact with children.

Unison said axing support staff to meet Tory cuts could mean “breaching the law or allowing people who could be a risk to children’s safety to slip through the net.”

The government is urging schools to “share” support staff to cut costs — though Unison found many already work eight hours a week in unpaid overtime at their own schools.

The union said that despite 63 per cent of survey respondents working full-time, one in 10 said they needed a second job to make ends meet as a result of the Tories 1 per cent cap on public sector wages.

Unison’s head of education Jon Richards said: “School office staff go above and beyond every single day and schools would struggle to manage without them. If their jobs go, everyone — heads, teachers, pupils and parents — would notice the difference.

“These employees play a vital role keeping children safe, reassuring parents and ensuring the smooth and cost-effective running of schools. Without them, already overstretched teachers and teaching assistants could be pulled out of classrooms.

“Cutbacks in education funding are having a devastating impact on children’s education.”

“Instead of starving schools of funds, the government should invest in education and ensure children get the start they deserve in life.”

Although the Tory manifesto pledges to increase the schools budget overall by £4 billion, the IMF calculated that with inflation and growing student numbers, this will actually amount to a fall of 3 per cent in spending per pupil between now and 2022.