School support staff are incredible. In communities across the UK they support and educate our children, providing a vast range of services that pupils benefit from and families rely upon.
That’s why this morning I was in Tottenham, to visit two fantastic schools – Brook and Willow. There I met the amazing support staff who work there, and heard their headteachers and the children they support, praise them and thank them for their work.
I was there to launch our annual Stars in our Schools celebration. The day itself is on 23 November, but we want to see as many schools as possible taking part.
Whether they’re catering staff or teaching assistants, cleaners or administrative workers, without them schools couldn’t open every morning.
They deserve our thanks and to know just how valuable their work is to all of us.
Today was a fantastic example of what that looks like. It’s fair to say that Brook and Willow Primary Schools have set a high bar for celebrating support staff for Stars in our Schools.
These are two schools that exist side by side – sharing the same building and facilities. Brook caters for children with a range of complex needs including autism, learning difficulties and associated physical and emotional needs, while Willow is a two form entry primary school.
Together they form part of the Broadwaters Inclusive Learning Community, and that sense of inclusion and togetherness is clearly central to both schools.
The day began with a welcome breakfast for all support staff to thank them for their work. It was a great opportunity to bring everyone together in the morning – but that was far from the only thanks these remarkable school workers received.
Willow pupils serenaded their teaching assistants with renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, before presenting them with gifts and handmade cards.
Meanwhile, Brook pupils held a special assembly to celebrate their “superheroes” – the staff who help them learn every day – before presenting them with gifts and cards in a really special, joyful celebration.
And of course it wasn’t just TAs and SNAs who were thanked – everyone who works for the school received praise and thanks for their dedication and hard work. Everyone who works in our schools plays a vital role in education – and every single one should be thanked every single day.
At the very least they deserve an annual celebration of their work, their contribution and the difference they make. I hope this year even more schools take part – and celebrate the real stars who make our schools the special places they are – as we continue to fight for the better pay, terms and conditions that all school support staff deserve.