Rally celebrates city’s ‘forgotten heroes’

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A rally will be held outside Sheffield Town Hall next Saturday to celebrate the work of the ‘forgotten heroes’ of the city’s schools.

The two-hour lunchtime event will mark Teaching Assistant Celebration Day, and is being organised by unions Unison and GMB.

It is seeking to raise the profile not only of classroom assistants but of learning mentors, technicians, lunchtime supervisors and other support staff.

There will be face painting, balloons and a free raffle for shoppers.

A petition will also be circulated to be presented to councillors and headteachers calling for the contributions of support staff to be properly recognised.

The unions are concerned at the number of support staff that have been made redundant or downgraded at schools across the city.

They are also worried at reports the Treasury is pressing the Department for Education to phase out teaching assistants altogether.

Unison convenor Lisa Smith said: “School support staff play a vital role in raising educational standards in the city.”