The best thing about being UNISON’s general secretary is that I get to spend time with our members, talking to them about the work they do in public services and seeing the impact they make in our communities.
UNISON takes pride in celebrating public service workers, and this Friday’s annual Stars In Our Schools celebration is very special to me. I spent many years working closely with schools support staff, negotiating for them, campaigning with them and demanding better recognition and pay for the vital role they play in education.
For this year’s Stars In Our Schools celebration, we’re going one step further by celebrating our early years staff and school support staff together. Both do far more than facilitate learning – they help create an environment where children and young people are secure, happy and motivated.
It takes entire teams to keep schools and nurseries going. Children are kept safe and healthy by cleaners, catering staff, crossing patrol officers and child protection officers. They learn and excel with the help of teaching and classroom assistants, librarians and technicians.
And nurseries and schools are run smoothly by admin assistants, finance officers and business managers. These are just some of the roles our members do in nurseries and schools up and down the UK.
So this Friday, thousands of schools and nurseries will be taking part in our celebrations. I’ll be travelling up to Newark in the East Midlands, and I can’t wait to meet the stars of a special school who support and educate children with complex needs.
I’ll be thanking them for everything they do, for the pride they put into our union and I’ll be listening to them, to learn about what more our union can do to make their working lives better.
This is also your chance to nominate a star, and you have until 27 November to make your nomination and enter our prize draw – don’t miss out.