Many support staff are working beyond the boundaries of their current job description and are therefore not being adequately paid for the extra work they are taking on.
A recent survey of NEU members revealed that more than a third of support staff (35.6 per cent) feel their job description does not reflect the work they now carry out, and 5.1 per cent said that their job description was completely inaccurate.
What is a job description?
A job description should detail the purpose, tasks and responsibilities of a particular job. The national agreement for support staff outlined in ‘School support staff – the way forward’ says that “every member of staff needs a comprehensive job description reviewed on a regular basis”.
Even for standard schools’ roles, such as teaching assistants, librarians, technicians and administrators, job descriptions can be amended to take account of any additional duties the post holder is expected to carry out. While a job description does not have the same legal standing, it should be provided to a new employee at the same time as the contract of employment.
How can a job description be changed?
Government guidance on the Workload Agreement states that headteachers should “consult with staff regarding changes to their job descriptions. Agreement (must be found) if there is a substantial change to a role.”
If you wish to amend your job description to encompass changes to your role and responsibilities, you should firstly update it yourself, using the model job profiles for guidance.
You should then talk informally to your line manager, to try to reach agreement on the revised job description. Should the informal approach not result in a satisfactory outcome, then you have recourse to the school or LA grievance procedure (whichever is applicable).
Before embarking on a challenge to your existing job description or grading, it is a good idea to consult your NEU school rep. If you do not have a rep at your school, you can always seek advice from your local NEU branch.
Job evaluation is the assessment of the relative worth of varied jobs within an organisation based on a consistent set of job and personal factors, such as skills, qualifications, experience and training required.
LAs use one of two different job evaluation schemes, when undertaking a complete overhaul of their grading structures (as part of what is called single status), and for ongoing reviews of individual posts.
The national local government single status job evaluation scheme has been developed jointly by the local government employees and unions and has been incorporated into the Green Book (Part 4).
But increasingly popular with employers is the Greater London provincial council scheme (GLPC) which despite its parochial title is used by LAs in many parts of country when implementing single status.
By using a job evaluation scheme such as GLPC, employers are able to ensure that jobs with vastly different characteristics can be assessed and remunerated on a fair and equitable basis.