The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, has delivered a glowing tribute to school support staff in a specially-recorded film released today (Friday, November 25).

Her video forms part of UNISON’s Stars in Our Schools day, an annual UK-wide celebration of the unsung but important role of teaching assistants, administrators, caterers, midday supervisors, cleaners and caretakers in our children’s education.

Today, schools across Wales will be holding award ceremonies, putting on special assemblies or holding a coffee morning to thank support staff for their commitment over the last year. UNISON has delivered cakes and goody bags to hundreds of schools in preparation. Many schools have taken part in competitions organised by UNISON, encouraging their students to design posters featuring support staff.

In her video message, Brecon and Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams says: “The work carried out every day by support staff in schools across Wales is vital.

“My grandma, Mary Hall, was a school cook in Blaenymaes Primary School in Swansea and she loved being part of that community. So I know how hard our support staff work in our schools every day.

“Schools simply could not function without the contribution of teaching assistants, cooks, cleaners, technicians, receptionists, caretakers and others.

“These committed staff members help make our schools the successes they are and I welcome this UNISON initiative as a way of recognising their work.”

Rosie Lewis, UNISON Cymru Wales lead organiser for schools said: “UNISON’s Stars in Our Schools day shines a light on the wonderful work of all school support staff. Too often, the valuable contribution that is made by every single member of staff in school is hidden.

“Today we are delighted that head teachers and teachers, as well as the Minister for Education, want to champion the positive role of the whole school staff team in making schools safe and happy places for students to learn. UNISON is dedicated to campaigning for decent terms and conditions for all school staff.”