Date: Fri 30 Oct 2009
The leader of UNISON, Scotland’s public service union today said that education support staff were crucial in the drive to bring the country out of recession.
He criticised business leaders, right wing politicians and media commentators who have called for finance cuts in education, as ‘risking a further recession’.
Addressing a conference in Edinburgh today (30 Oct), Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, said “Education is one of the key supports for economic infrastructure. When big business accuses public service of being a drain on the economy, they conveniently forget the role of public education in providing them with an educated workforce. This is just one of the reasons why public service investment must be kept high. To cut spending on education and other public services at this crucial time could condemn the Scottish economy to further recession.”
Matt also stressed the key role of education support staff in delivering Scottish education. “Too often, politicians and the media focus on teachers and lecturers, and ignore the rest of the education team.”
He said, “From classroom assistants to school meals staff, and from early years workers to librarians, they ensure our kids get a high standard of education. However, as in other parts of the public sector, support staff in education tend to be the lowest paid and least valued, and it is no coincidence that many of them are women.
“Politicians must become aware that support staff are no longer prepared to play a secondary role. They need to be valued and consulted in the development of Scotland’s education.”
The conference for Education Support Staff is also being addressed by the Minister for Schools and Skills, Keith Brown MSP, and representatives from CoSLA and the SQA. It is taking place in the Barcelo Carlton Hotel, North Bridge, Edinburgh).