Support staff feeling ‘undervalued and stressed’

Research from trade union UNISON has found that Scots school support staff are feeling ‘exhausted, undervalued and stressed’ in their work – and they’re struggling to maintain standards because of cuts.

The survey collected almost 900 responses from staff working in schools last September, including janitors, librarians, clerical staff, technicians and catering staff.

More than half reported that budgets had been cut, while almost 40% of staff said they worked extra unpaid hours to get work done, and more than 60% said that morale was very low in their schools – with 80% reporting that their workload was only increasing.

The 30-page document, entitled ‘Hard Lessons’, also reported that there had been a loss of 1,841 support staff in schools between 2010 and 2015 – yet there are 6,707 more pupils in our schools.

Carol Ball, chair of UNISON education committee said: “Cutting hours and not replacing staff means job losses are less likely to get noticed outside school. But these cuts still damage our children’s education inside school. Staff try to maintain a high quality service to give children the best start in life.  But this is enormously difficult when schools are short of supplies and staff workloads continue to increase; and libraries, sports lunch and afterschool clubs and music tuition have been cut. And this hurts the poorest kids the most.”

Find out more about the report and its findings here.