Classroom assistants celebrated in Northern Ireland

Teaching assistant with school children


Parents, students and teachers in a number of schools across Northern Ireland are today (29 November)  celebrating the invaluable contribution made by classroom assistants to local schools.

Most schools couldn’t operate without classroom assistants, yet their role is often not fully understood or recognised. There is a complex mix of classroom responsibilities with an overlap between pastoral, administrative and support duties.

The celebration day is part of a wider campaign spearheaded by UNISON to speak up for classroom assistants and celebrate the positive impact they have on children’s learning and development.

The roles classroom assistants play are varied but they are vital, such as giving targeted help to pupils with special education needs, supporting children with complex health needs, and providing pastoral support to children. With the dedicated help of classroom assistants, children who would otherwise struggle get support to keep them in mainstream education.

Anne Speed, UNISON Northern Ireland’s Head of Bargaining and Representation, said: “Classroom assistants are a class act and schools could not run without them.

“Children and young people trust their classroom assistants and often turn to them when they are struggling at school or with their social wellbeing. By working with individuals or small groups, a classroom assistant can gain the confidence of a child and help them to achieve their full potential.

“This really is a special skill and we are celebrating that today.”

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UNISON in education

UNISON northern Ireland