Stars in our Schools: Ysgol St. Mary’s, Flint

I have joined with UNISON in celebrating school support staff by visiting Ysgol St Mary’s, Flint.

Schools across the UK will be holding award ceremonies, special assemblies, competitions and lunches to recognise the wonderful, and often overlooked, work done by school support staff and I was invited by UNISON to Ysgol St Mary’s to celebrate the work of their teaching assistants.

Last year UNISON and schools organised celebrations for teaching assistants in hundreds of schools up and down the UK. This year they have extended the celebration to all school support staff – the unsung heroes of education – through a co-ordinated day of activity.

School support staff have a number of roles within our schools. They ensure that children can learn in a safe and healthy environment. There are many people who work together to make this happen: supervisors; crossing patrol officers; child protection officers; cleaners; janitors; catering staff; and parent support advisers.

They also help children learn. These include: teaching and classroom assistants; learning support assistants; learning mentors; librarians; science technicians; ICT technicians; food technicians and design; and technology technicians.

Support staff ensure that our schools run smoothly. People such as school business managers; cover supervisors; examination officers; school attendance officers; admin assistants; finance officers; and secretaries.

Praising the often overlooked work of these heroes of education is important. I wanted to support UNISON in their work in ensuring that they get the praise they deserve. Visiting Ysgol St Mary’s allowed me to personally thank them for their tireless efforts.

Stars in Our Schools also gives the children to thank those that make education interesting and their school a safe and happy place. The enthusiasm of the pupils demonstrated just how much they value their support staff.

The work of support staff compliments the efforts of our teachers and we must always be grateful for their efforts in giving our children the gift of learning. Education remains the panacea for all our problems. That is why Labour will always support our schools.