RCT council to pay school assistant fees

Rhondda Cynon Taf becomes sixth Welsh council to pay registration fees for teaching assistants being introduced in April

Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) council has become the sixth Welsh authority to commit to paying the registration fees for its learning support workers after concerted lobbying by UNISON Cymru Wales.

Learning support workers or teaching assistants do all those vital but unheralded jobs in our schools, supporting Special Educational Needs children and underperforming children and helping teachers cope with large classes.

From April 2016, all learning support workers in Wales will be required to be registered with the Education Workforce Council (EWC).

The registration fee is an annual payment of £15 per person.

As the union for school support staff, UNISON has been campaigning for local authorities to pay the registration fee for all learning support workers in Wales and reiterated this message recently to all Welsh Council leaders at a joint meeting.

UNISON RCT branch education convenor Dean Price said the move “is a really welcome morale boost for support workers employed across RCT schools.

“Without their dedication and commitment, schools simply could not function and the council must be praised for making this commitment.

“UNISON has consistently argued that because registration is compulsory – and the fact that RCT already pays a similar registration fee for teachers and social workers – this was the correct decision for the council to take.”

UNISON Cymru Wales lead organiser for schools Jess Turner said: “Yet another council has recognised the need to pay the fees for its learning support workers, following similar decisions Cardiff, Bridgend, Swansea, Torfaen County and the Vale of Glamorgan.

“UNISON will continue our campaigning efforts to ensure learning support workers get the fair recognition they deserve with decent training, a uniform career structure and fair pay.”