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Three-quarters of support staff work overtime, survey reveals

Three-quarters of school support staff work more than their contracted hours because of high workloads, according to a survey.

More than one in five (21 per cent) work between four and six extra hours a week, with 11 per cent regularly clocking up an extra seven hours or more.

Of those working over their contracted hours, seven in 10 say they never receive extra pay.

The survey of 1,600 members of the ATL union also reveals that more than half (53 per cent) say there is no difference between their duties and those of a supply teacher.

“This survey clearly shows that support staff are in need of their own Workload Challenge investigation,” said ATL general secretary Mary Bousted.

“It is vital they are not overlooked in discussions surrounding the curbing of excessive working hours among education staff. It is totally unfair to expect support staff to teach classes without the appropriate training or remuneration – it sells both them and their pupils short.”

One academy teaching assistant who took part in the survey said: “We are unable to move out of our current pay band yet are expected to take on more responsibilities and are on the front line when it comes to dealing with students. Senior staff are dismissive of us and morale is extremely low.”

A primary teaching assistant said: “We are constantly given more things to do such as interventions, phonics groups and cover supervision, with very little time allowed for us to adequately prepare for these sessions. When we do have time allotted to us we can be pulled away to do other things.”

Earlier this month, TES reported on calls from support staff unions for the Department for Education to ensure that its Workload Challenge, designed to reduce the burden on teachers, did not lead to their colleagues picking up extra work.

A DfE spokesman said support staff unions would be included in developing an action plan to address the issues raised.

Related stories: 

Don't let school support staff be victims of Workload Challenge, unions say – 10 January 2015

Workload action plan to be published in just six weeks – December 2014

Teacher workload: thousands respond to government call for evidence – October 2014

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