UNITE – BECAUSE YOU DESERVE BETTER! A Day in the Life of a Learning Support Worker

Local Authorities Update
DATE 2 September 2020
UNITE – BECAUSE YOU DESERVE BETTER!A Day in the Life of a Learning
Support Worker

In our series of newsletters showing the
difference you make, this newsletter is looking
at the vital work our members are doing in
schools and again shows that your roles should
be highly valued instead of low paid.

Today, Unite would like you to meet Iona (real name
changed to maintain anonymity). Iona works full-time in the
Highlands & Islands region and is paid £378 per week – a
mere 60% of the UK’s average wage*.

Give a brief description of your work you do
I support vulnerable pupils either on a 121 basis or working with a number
of pupils. I do this by working with teachers and adapting lessons to assist
the pupils to remain engaged with lessons in the classroom. I also assist in
pupils’ personal care.

Do you believe you have job security?
No. For a long time now, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, my
Employer has been talking about the impact and plans because of this
year’s budget cuts. When Lockdown happened and the schools closed, I
think this made me an easy target for redundancy.

Do you feel at risk of COVID-19?
Yes – there is a real lack of social distancing between staff and between
pupils. I have no idea where pupils are returning from, if they have been in
holiday hotspots and because I have to work in very close proximity to the
kids, I feel at risk to the virus.

Do you feel you are exposing your family to danger?
Absolutely. I have no idea what I could be bringing home to my partner or
our children.

What support did you receive from your Employer?
Quite a lot from the Authority but none from my line manager as they did not
contact me until a couple of months into lockdown. The Authority did
launch a wellbeing pack which I was grateful for.

Do you think you are adequately paid?
No – I don’t think we are even adequately recognised in or outside school.

Being low paid is very challenging with little or no training and support. I am
always made to feel inferior although I do recognise the difference I can
make to young people’s learning – even with the barriers, I do love my job.
*Average wage in UK is £31,830

Next Steps
Very shortly, Unite will be issuing a survey to all members via
email to find out your opinion on what your pay claim should be. It
is vital that you take part in this as we need the fullest possible
view of what the members want.

Are Your Details Up-To-Date?
Check your details and membership online. To do this click on
https://myunite.unitetheunion.org/login – this will give you full
sight of the information Unite holds for you. This also allows you to
update your details.

If you are aware of any of your colleagues who would want a say in
their pay claim, forward this newsletter and encourage them to join
a union – encourage them to join Unite. They can do this easily by
going to https://join.unitetheunion.org/


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