As support staff in schools are being told not to cover for striking teachers during a walkout next week, we ask if you think they should.
Teachers across the region are going on strike next October 1 in a long-running row over pay, pensions and workload.
The action has been called by the NUT and NASUWT unions. Support staff such as teaching assistants are not on strike if they are part of the Unison trade union.
But their representatives are telling them not to provide cover or take classes unless it is part of their normal duties and not to take on any extra work.
Should support staff cover for striking teachers? Vote in our poll below and have your say in the comments section:
In a letter to school staff, Adrian Turner, Wolverhampton Unison branch secretary, said: “Unison members in schools have not been balloted for strike action or action short of strike action and we therefore advise them to continue with their normal duties and responsibilities.
“However, Unison members should not take on any additional responsibilities being given to them directly as a result of the teachers’ industrial action.
“School support staff should not be expected to provide cover for or take classes, where this would normally be done by teachers who are taking action.
“In particular, higher level teaching assistants or cover supervisors should only be taking classes or providing cover where they are contracted to do so, if it is timetabled or part of their normal duties. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally have carried out in order to cover classes and frustrate the industrial action of colleagues.”
Education secretary Michael Gove wrote to the NUT and NASUWT in March to say he was willing to meet them to discuss their dispute, but also insisted that the ‘direction of travel’ on both their key issues was ‘fixed’. Mr Gove said that ‘teachers have better pensions than the majority in the public and private sectors’.
Under the Government’s reforms, due to come into effect from this autumn, teachers’ pay will be linked to performance in the classroom - with schools setting salaries rather than following a national framework.
Changes have also been made to public sector pensions.