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NEW ARRANGEMENT FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF AGREED

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The national guidance for school support staff setting out job profiles, grading, training and development advice h...
The national guidance for school support staff setting out job profiles, grading, training and development advice has been agreed by the National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services.

The NJC, made up of representatives of the unions and the employers, has spent 18 months negotiating the guidance, which is being released today.

Christina McAnea, Unison national secretary for education and trade union side secretary said: 'We welcome the successful conclusion of these negotiations. The role of school support staff has and is continuing to change. This agreement makes it clear that it is not about teaching on the cheap. It is about having a proper grading structure in place which fairly rewards support staff for the contribution tbey make as part of the school team.'

Mike Walker, director of negotiations at the Employers' Organisation for local government, said: 'The national guidance reflects best practice and the latest changes to the roles of support staff. The contribution of support staff to raising standards will be enhanced by local frameworks to improve career pathways. Support staff in classrooms will continue to work with teachers to improve learning opportunities for pupils.'

The agreed framework for employing school staff includes:

*Model job profiles covering a range of jobs in schools including classroom support, administrative and technical, ranging from levels 1-4.

*Guidance on the employment of school staff, which includes advice on grading reviews.

*Guidance on fixed term working which encourages schools to use permanent contracts.

*Guidance on training and staff development which highlights the need for schools to consider the training and development needs of all staff.

Chris Kaufman, T&G national secretary said: 'The T&G welcomes this positive agreed guidance. It begins to recognise the vital role played by support staff in schools by defining their own role rather than as simply adjuncts to teachers. For th is real culture change to flow throughout schools and their local communities, LEAs and schools themselves must establish structures for consulting support staff in both short and long term planning.'

Jude Brimble, GMB national officer for schools said: 'This is a crucial part of the jigsaw that will ease the implementation of the historic agreement for schools. Local Authorities need to work with school support trade unions to negotiate grading structures locally as a matter of urgency and together we can ensure that all schools introduce proper structures which reflect the extended roles in the National agreement.'

The agreement recognises the importance of support staff in improving standards in schools and highlights their role in supporting teaching and learning as part of a team with qualified teachers.

The job profiles reflect their changing role as envisaged in the National Agreement for schools signed earlier this year with the government.

NOTES

The National Joint Council for Local Government Services comprises UNISON, the GMB and T&G, and the local government employers. The council negotiates terms and conditions for 1.3 million staff employed by local authorities. Salary grades are determined at authority level from the NJC's salary spine.

The guidance for support staff in schools covers:

* Training and development, which encourages better planning of development opportunities for support staff.

* Fixed term contracts, which discourages the use of such contracts unless they can be objectively justified

* Job profiles. These will provide the starting points for local decisions to set salary grades selected from the NJC's salary spine. Local decisions will be needed for more detailed work on job descriptions.

The profiles have three strands and up to 4 levels. The strands are:

* Curriculum support - Technicians etc

* Administrative organisation - Clerical through to Bur sars

* Supporting and delivering learning/ Behavioural guidance and support - Teaching assistants

There are 363,000 support staff in schools in England. The numbers have increased by 57% since 1998.

For each profile, the level of supervision is an important issue in assessing jobs. For higher level teaching assistants, the profiles reflect the national agreement on workload, that any teaching activity is under the supervision of a qualified teacher who is responsible for the education of the pupils.

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