Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The numbers of support staff working to no more than their agreed hours has collapsed in recent years. Less than a quarter (22%) responding to our most recent survey said that they could still work to contracted time. That is a drop from 26% in 2020. The effects of real-terms funding cuts were already felt, but the pandemic has hastened them.

“Today we are calling for a reversal to the creeping deterioration of support staff’s terms and conditions. Many never see remuneration for these additional hours, receiving pay for term-time only and not usually for their lunch break either. And just 15% tell us that they get to take their full lunch break with any regularity.

“The correcting of this situation must also be met with a significant improvement in pay for support staff. The argument that it is merited is hard to dispute. Support staff work extraordinarily hard and are often expected to take on roles outside of their contract, very often without additional pay.

“We need to see a new chapter for support staff, one that respects the contribution they make to the collective effort of all school staff.”

Editor’s Note

The survey of NEU support members was conducted between 26 November - 27 December 2021 and received 1,121 responses.