News School support staff

To all school support staff members – Let us know your preference for your holidays

School support staffUPDATE 5th June 2020

It is likely now that the addition of holidays will be at Christmas, in January or at beginning of next summer. These are in place of the days some of you will be asked to work week beginning 11th Aug to enable schools to open a week early.

The branch has been asked to query our members as to which you would prefer, an extended Christmas break or an earlier closing in Summer 2021.

Can you please advise us of your preference by emailing

Way forward agreed 3rd June

The branch held further talks with Education and HR  on Wednesday 3rd June when a plan of action was agreed.

Inez Kirk, branch secretary explains, “Only those staff needed to be in the school from the 15th June will be asked to go in to help with setting up the schools for the new term in August.

“All schools will receive a deep clean prior to anyone going into the school on the 15th June

“All staff will only be asked to do their contracted hours. Some of our members are still providing support in the childcare hubs during this time so that will have to be taken into account if they are also asked to go into the schools to help with preparation.

Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk

“The Scottish Government has decided that childcare hubs will continue over the summer period. The staffing of the hubs over the summer period will predominantly be done by those staff with 52 week contracts and relief staff.

“However, a survey will be carried out of staff on their availability and willingness to work during the summer break. We are advising our members to respond to this survey. If staff on term time contracts do wish to work they will be paid in addition to their normal salary.

“With regards to the return to work on the 11th August, a survey of staff will be done to check the availability of staff. Only those available will be asked to go into work on the 11th August. We are also advising members to complete this survey.

“It has been decided that 11th August will be an in service day.

“The four days of work during that first week back will be repaid by allocating extra leave on either the October break or the Christmas break this year, meaning that there would be a longer break on either or both those breaks. (now Christmas or Summer 2021 – see UPDATE above)

“When that will be taken is still a matter for agreement at this time.”

Inez added that government guidelines still concentrate on social distancing as the route to protect all in the school environment. However, UNISON has been very clear that support staff can not always rely on social distancing with the roles that they carry out, whether through the age of the young people they support or the disabilities.

Inez said, “It is clear that these situations will need to be risk assessed, along with the appropriate staff, and any PPE provided for those situations. The PPE will be in line with that used by social care colleagues.

“This has been a long week and many discussions have been held but at last the council is talking and listening and meetings have now been set up on a weekly basis.”

Ann Gray
Ann Gray

Inez asked members to let the branch know if they have any concerns.

“You, our members are our eyes and ears on the ground and we need you to let us know if you have any concerns at all, nothing is too trivial a matter.”

The branch has asked Ann Gray to be our  lead in education.

Inez said, “Ann has a vast knowledge of local government and has family working within education in Aberdeenshire. She will be supporting you and taking the lead going forward.” You can contact Ann at

“Thank you all for all your work and remember we are here to make sure your voice is heard. UNISON is the largest trade union in education and at last we are being heard and our members are getting the recognition and respect they deserve.”