Union filling the training gap

I applaud the Union’s initiative to offer more professional development for support staff in 2015, as our employers offer little.

PIPs are a valuable way in which the Union is rolling out professional training for support staff. Keep an eye out for the following PIPS and meetings as they do apply to support staff: Environmental Sustainability, TeachMeets, Anti Social Media and women’s regional forums.

These are an ideal way of networking with other school support staff and we look forward to seeing you at any or all of these. The need for PD for support staff is paramount for us to deliver professional outcomes for our children.

For instance, classroom support staff are expected to work with children with special needs, but more often than not without specialised training.

We are at the coalface, but are often left out in the cold when it comes to PD. Our biannual conference will be held on 21 August 2015, so please include it in your diary, as exciting things are already being planned for this conference. Bravo to the Union for its foresight!

Employers need to recognise support staff’s experience, years of service, commitment and training. We continue to be held back in progressing up the incremental steps. If the work we do reflects a certain step, surely it is right and just that we are paid at that level.

Some unscrupulous employers say, "We can only have one person at that step in each school" or "We had better change your role so it reflects the step you are currently working in."

Why? It just doesn’t make sense! Why put barriers in front of valuable and hardworking staff? I couldn’t imagine employers accepting this way of thinking in their jobs.

Along with teachers, our workloads are increasing and our work time is seriously compressed. At a local level we need to participate in a democratic conversation about the direction of support staff in the education community.

We need to support each other. Schools would not function without the integrity and hard work of support staff. A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is all we are asking!

Carolyn Collins
Vice President Support Staff