Are you one of our School support staff Stewards or Health and Safety Represntative?  Would you like to attend the School support staff seminar this year, which is being held in Manchester on the 27 April?  If you would, please contact the Branch for more details and put your name forward.  Should there be several activists interested, names may have to be drawn.  All expenses will be paid by the Branch to allow you to attend. 

The Government has been slammed for dropping the long-awaited teaching assistants standards.  The standards which were meant to support our teaching assistants in work, have been dropped at the eleventh hour.  UNISON had been working alongside teaching assistants and other school professionals to have these implemented, so it is a great disappointment that the hard work achieved, will now not see the light of day. 

The article  The government is failing teaching assistants, says UNISON first appeared on the  UNISON site.

Do I have to do personal care of children coming into a school is a frequently asked question at this time of year.  The short answer is, only if it is written into your job description , but as usual it is somewhat more complex and some background information is useful when discussing this issue with your school management.  A school head should inform teaching assistants, as it is usually this group of staff tasked with this issue.  This does not appear to be happening, as T.A.s are feeling coerced and even bullied into carrying out personal care.

So who is responsible and why am I being asked?  ‘Asking parents and carers to come and change a child is likely to be a direct contravention of the Equality Act 2010, and leaving a child in a soiled nappy for any length of time pending the return of the parent/carer is a form of abuse.’(Appendix 3, Promoting personal development in foundation and key stage 1 – continence 2005).  Responsibility for this duty of care falls onto the school governors to provide services such as personal care and medication administration.  There is no such direct duty placed on teachers or teaching assistants.  Heads and school management should be asking for volunteers to do the role, and then putting in place safeguards for the child and the staff members who have volunteered.  As a volunteer, you can withdraw your volunteering at any point, just by giving some notice.  Do make this aspect of your volunteering role known, and it should not be seen as part of your contractual role.

There are several good pieces of information held on Trade Union websites concerning your rights.  UNISON has fought hard for the new guidance and our campaign paid off last year.  The following links access the new guidelines and also UNISON National website for more information.  Know your rights and speak with your UNISON workplace representative, or contact the Branch before you agree to be a volunteer.

UNISON National news on acceptance of new guidelines HERE

Guidance document HERE