Care passionately about public services and the services our young people deserve. Am actively campaigning to get further education and the careers service the funding it deserves. Other training campaigns am working on is getting unemployed people into work, tackling poverty and inequality. Have experience in all of these areas.
Teaching assistants use own money to fund uniforms and trips to help struggling parents, says UNISON Teaching assistants are dipping into their own pockets to help cash-strapped families buy school uniforms, fund trips and provide lunch money, according to a survey by UNISON published today (Friday). Schools are also providing emergency supplies of groceries, with more than one in ten (12%) operating food banks for families. The findings are based on responses from across the UK of more than 4,500 (4,549) teaching assistants from primary and secondary schools. They highlight how pressured, low-income families are turning to schools for basic support, says UNISON. More than half (54%) of respondents said parents are increasingly in need of more help, while just under half (49%) reported pupils arriving at school hungry more often. Two in five (41%) said they were witnessing increasing levels of poverty. The result is that teaching assistants are using their own money to provide extra help to those in need. More than a fifth (22%) had bought uniforms, a similar proportion (23%) PE kits, while 20% had helped pupils with lunch money. Nearly one in five (17%) had even provided cash so children could go on school trip, according to the findings. The acts of kindness come as teaching assistants themselves are feeling the financial squeeze, says UNISON. More than three quarters (77%) of schools are making cutbacks, especially over the last couple of years, and more than half (52%) are axing school support staff jobs. Seven in (70%) of respondents said the number of support staff had decreased despite the number of children they were responsible for increasing (69%). The result is high stress levels (70%) and reduced morale (68%), with more than half (56%) considering leaving their jobs. UNISON head of education Jon Richards said:
Support staff at Birmingham University are to take further strike action today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) in their long-running industrial dispute over fair pay, equality and improved working conditions.