Council to reimburse Learning Support Workers fees
From 1st April 2016 School Learning Support Workers in Neath Port Talbot schools will receive reimbursement for payment of their 2016 / 2017 registration fees.
From 1st April 2016 all learning support workers in schools and Further Education settings in Wales will be required to register with the Education Workforce Council (EWC). After this date, schools in Wales will not be able to employ Learning Support Workers who are not registered.
In order to register learning support workers must pay a fee of £15.00 to the EWC. Whilst Welsh Government have provided funding to Local Authorities in respect of the statutory £33.00 allowance provided to each registered school teacher towards the cost of their £45.00 registration fee, no such funding has been made available in respect of School Learning Support Workers. Whilst sympathetic to Learning Support Workers, initially Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council rejected trade union requests to reimburse the registration fee on the grounds that any new burdens and responsibilities on local authorities should be appropriately funded.
The Council has now re-considered its position taking into account continued lobbying by UNISON and GMB. Along with a number of other Councils across Wales, it has agreed to fund registration fees for the registration year 2016 / 2017, to enable a review of statutory registration across the Council to take place and discussions with Welsh Government to continue in relation to funding arrangements.
Mark Fisher, UNISON Neath Port Talbot Branch Chair has welcomed the Council’s decision to pay the registration fees as UNISON has been campaigning for local authorities to pay the registration fee for all learning support workers in Wales.
He said: “We are committed to supporting low paid workers across our membership and we are pleased to see the contribution of learning support workers being recognised by the council. In turn we will do everything we can to lobby Welsh Government to ensure that unfunded burdens are not being placed on Councils”.
Cllr. Ali Thomas OBE, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said “this is another example of good partnership working between unions and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. As a Council we always try to listen to the concerns of the trade unions and on their part, the trade unions always work with us in partnership delivering services”.
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