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Date: Friday 29 November 2013

Celebrate classroom assistants day - UNISON

UNISON Scotland is calling on parents, students and teachers to support of the vital contribution made by hard-working classroom assistants, as part of a national celebration day (29 November). 

The union, which represents classroom assistants, is campaigning for all school support staff to be rewarded for their tireless work through a proper career structure and better pay, terms and conditions. With the dedicated help of classroom assistants, children who would otherwise struggle, get support to keep them in mainstream education. 

The focus of the campaign at UK level is the threat from the coalition government to phase out the role of teaching assistants. While this role does not exist as such in Scotland, classroom assistants (and similar job titles) undertake a huge and varied range of tasks in Scottish schools. Independent research by the EOC and others shows that Scottish classroom assistants are working at high levels of responsibility - including planning and organising learning activities.

UNISON Scotland Education Chair, Carol Ball said:
“As local government is bearing the brunt of spending cuts in Scotland, school staff are facing growing demands to do more for less. Their pay is being squeezed, and they are working an increasing number of unpaid hours as staff who leave are not replaced. In addition, as the Glasgow dispute demonstrates, they are being forced to take on new roles without adequate training.”

UNISON Scotland also welcomes Scottish Parliament Motion S4M-08426:  submitted by Jayne Baxter MSP, (Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour) and urges all MSP’s to support the motion.

“Celebrating Classroom Assistants
That the Parliament considers that classroom assistants in Scotland make a valuable contribution; welcomes what it considers the positive impact that classroom assistants make by enhancing the learning environment for children and supporting teachers and other school staff; acknowledges the role of Unison Scotland in speaking up for the many of its 160,000 members who are classroom assistants, and supports Unison’s Celebration Day on 29 November 2013, which recognises the difference made by classroom and teaching assistants to the education and support of children in schools across the UK.”

ENDS

Note for editors:
Job titles for support roles in Scottish schools vary significantly, as do the range of roles. Classroom Assistant is a common generic title.

The Glasgow dispute relates to pupil support assistants, instructors and care workers who are being forced to undertake specialist healthcare tasks, including the administration of medicine, in addition to their core duties. Further details here.

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409
Carol Ball, UNISON Scotland Education Chair, 0141 552 7069/ 07803 952 263


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