Date: Thurs 3 January 2008
UNISON urges councils - Re-evaluate classroom assistant jobs
Thousands of classroom assistants across Scotland are doing work
at a higher level than is being recognised by their pay, and their
jobs should all be properly evaluated, said their union, UNISON
today (Thurs 3 January).
Classroom assistants(CAs) are employed to do a variety of jobs
in schools, including a range of jobs that are directly involved
in supporting and delivering education. However they are mostly
paid on the bottom payscale for local government staff, often further
cut as they are employed on term-time only contracts. And the Job
Evaluation (JE) process currently being undertaken by many councils
is failing to identify the true value of the work they do.
Peter Hunter UNISON's Scottish Legal Officer said "It is clear
that often JE scores are not reflecting the level of responsibility
in the jobs undertaken by CAs. The higher levels of responsibility
has already been highlighted by the EOC in their last report - Valuable
assets, and it is also being shown up when CAs are going for a specific
re-evaluation in council's single status processes.
"These increasing levels of responsibility are becoming apparent
because classroom assistants are carrying out key educational work
like - individual educational work with children; work with pupils
at risk of exclusion; early support for literacy and numeracy; work
to tackle violent and disruptive behaviour; work with children with
special needs and many other educational tasks.
"However JE scores do not - for the most part - represent this
diversity and complexity of work, and Classroom assistants often
feel undervalued by the result of the JE process. In cases where
UNISON has successfully campaigned for a re-evaluation of CAs, the
new evaluation has delivered substantial increases in both the points
scored and the pay and grading of CAs."
Jackie Gilchrist (Member of UNISON's Educational Issues Group and
herself a CA) said "The undervaluing of CAs role is perhaps symptomatic
of a general lack of recognition of the key role in education that
non-teaching staffs perform. There may be a number of different
specific reasons for the JE results, and, we are now calling for
local government employers who have not done so to review these
"While the revalued scores still do not fairly reflect the CAs'
worth and we will continue equal pay claims on their behalf, these
scores do indicate a great injustice taking place across Scotland."
For Further Information Please Contact: Peter Hunter (Legal
Officer) 07903 814 118 (m) Jackie Gilchrist (Education Issues Group)
07986 992 276 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583