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ATL Conference Bid to recognise support staff’s worth

SCHOOL support staff are vastly undervalued and left out of essential training and development, a teaching union will warn today.

Delegates at the National Education Union’s Association of Teachers & Lecturers section conference in Liverpool will debate a motion that argues that support staff members are “still not being respected as a valued and professional part of the education workforce.”

The motion says that there is a “gross misunderstanding” of the varied and vital roles that support staff undertake within education, leading to misconceptions about the value and professional standing of “this essential and diverse workforce.”

It warns that these misconceptions mean that support staff are often left behind or left out when it comes to training and development, stifling chosen career paths. There is still a perception that support staff are a “mums’ army who do little more than wash paint pots and create displays.”

NEU’s poll of about 1,700 members working as teaching assistants, cover supervisors, administrators and lab technicians found that 78 per cent regularly do overtime each week.

The motion calls on the union to campaign for support staff to have equal access to training and professional development.

  • Yesterday shadow education secretary Angela Rayner warned that there is a “crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.”

    Of the 141,000 teachers who qualified between 2010 and 2015, over 35,000 have left, with a decline in real-terms pay a potential factor, she said.

    Labour’s analysis of official figures shows that the average teacher was about £4,000 worse off in real terms in 2016 compared with 2010.

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