There were glittering prizes for dinner ladies, cleaners and a host of those hard-working non-teaching folk who make schools run like clockwork, dry tearful eyes and nourish the hungry at the first national support staff awards in London this week. The TES has honoured support staff for years, in our "Friday Hero" column, and official recognition, with star presenters and a gala dinner, is long overdue.
But it's in danger of appearing as patronising as the opening sentence of this editorial without the real recognition that comes with a proper pay structure. Schools and local authorities should accept that workforce remodelling has to be a two-way street; as the assistants' union Unison points out, they have agreed to take on more work, and should be rewarded.
The corollary is that schools need the cash to do it.