Welcome to UNISON, our Trade Union. We support and protect almost 1.3 million working people and offer a huge range of benefits to our members. We represent over 8,000 members in the City of Sheffield and those employees engaged in delivering public services allied to the Council, in addition we have members in Further Education Colleges and the Community and Voluntary Sector within Sheffield.

AGM Notice: 1 March 2017


Latest News

Schools newsletter: Autumn 2016 (10/10/16)

You can find the latest schools newsletter here...


  • Grammar schools plan generates backlash
  • Stars in our Schools
  • Recruit a friend scheme
  • Stress at work
  • The importance of a good steward
  • Local Government Conference


Forced Academies (26/04/16)

The government has announced plans to force all schools in England to become academies by 2022, meaning large numbers of schools that want to stay linked to their local authority, community or diocese would be forced to become part of an academy trust.
UNISON is opposed to forced academies and will support campaigns to defend schools that don’t want to change.

What could this mean for you?

  • Your employment would transfer from your current employer, in most cases Sheffield City Council to an academy trust
  • The academy trust has the freedom to break away from local and national agreements that set your pay, terms and conditions
  • The academy trust has the option to bring in new staff on worse pay and conditions

The country’s largest council, Birmingham City Council has a passed a motion rejecting the government’s plans to turn all schools in academies. They argue it is not in the best interests of the children as there is no evidence that academisation improves standards.
UNISON locally is working with fellow teaching and support staff trade unions to oppose Forced Academies. The following letter was sent to all Sheffield City Councillors at the end of April.

Dear Colleague

UNISON writes to you regarding the recent publication of the Education White Paper “Education Excellence Everywhere” and urges you to follow the lead of Birmingham City Council and pass a motion rejecting the Government’s plan to turn all schools into academies.

As you are no doubt aware there is widespread opposition to this proposal from across the education and political spectrums, including from influential Tory backbenchers and Councils.
The Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as support staff and teaching Trade Unions have all made clear their reasons for opposing forced academies i.e.

1)    There is no evidence that academies improve standards of education
2)    The proposals are a threat to local democracy, removing all accountability
3)    Removing the requirement to have parent and staff governors
4)    Academy Trusts have the freedom to break away from national agreements and set their own pay and conditions
5)    No oversight of compliance issues, raising significant H+S concerns
6)    The estimated cost is 1.6 billion pounds

Already Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan is pulling back on George Osborne’s proposal. It is highly likely the Government will either U turn, kick into the long grass or come up with a very much watered down proposal.
The Tory dominated County Council Network, which represents 37 local authorities with responsibility for education say “the government plans could harm councils’ ability to support young children and those with the greatest need”.Sheffield should not be seen to be in a position of passive co-operation when conservatives are vociferously opposing forced academies in their local authorities.

UNISON therefore looks to our elected representatives to clearly lead the way on what is right for the city’s children by allowing schools to make their own informed decisions and not accept the one size fits all forced academy programme.

Thank you for your time.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards

Lisa Smith
Education Convenor


Forthcoming UNISON Conferences (23/03/16)

Saturday 29th – Monday 31st October 2016
Brighton Centre – Brighton

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th November 2016
Venue Cymru, Llandudno

To request a nomination form or for further information contact:
Lisa Brownell (Branch Administrator)
UNISON Branch Office
Arundel Gate
S1 2LQ

Tel: 0114 2736307 
Email: lgbranch@sheffunison.org.uk
Closing date for nominations: 12noon Friday 1st July 2016


Education Convenors Report to AGM – 2016 (02/03/16)


Staff in schools and academies continue to shoulder the burden of austerity cuts alongside their council employee colleagues.
2015 – 16 has been another difficult year as schools attempt to balance stand still or decreasing budgets with an ever increasing demand to raise attainment. School support staff continue to be subject to redundancy and/or downgrading. The  expectation from head teachers and managers  that support staff work significantly above and beyond their job description is something UNISON continues to challenge on a daily basis.

School support staff very often work in low paid, low status jobs that do not reflect  the high  level of expectation, professionalism and responsibility required to fulfil the role.

Trade Union Facilities Time

In line with the authority’s Trade Union Facility Time agreement, education  convenors have reduced their capacity from 3 FTE reps to 2. Along with our corporate colleagues, education convenors have worked hard to minimise the impact of this significant cut to facilities time.
Supporting individuals who find themselves in vulnerable positions as well as representing members collectively remains our priority.

School Support Staff Campaign:-

Redundancy, downgrading and a complete disregard for the professional roles school staff undertake prompted UNISON members to set up a Schools Working Party (WP). The working party has engaged in a public campaign to defend and promote the contribution school support staff make in providing high quality education.
The campaign has followed the usual routes of petitioning, a 1500 signature petition was presented to full council June 2015, writing to councillors and MPs as well as holding events outside the Town Hall. The public have been extremely supportive of the campaign aims i.e. to call upon elected representatives and influential groups in the authority to not only challenge the practice of downgrading support staff , but to actively encourage the retention of experienced staff.

In addition the WP has met with cabinet member for Children Young People and Families, Councillor Jackie Drayton, the city’s Chief Executive John Mothersole and MP for Heeley Louise Haigh. It was made clear to them all that replacing highly skilled employees with staff working at lower levels, with little or no hope of career progression, will not raise standards in our schools. Councillor Drayton committed to using her position to raise our concerns with influential organisations across the authority, including the Schools Forum, Learn Sheffield and school governors.  We aim to meet with her again in the near future.

Debate in Parliament

Louise Haigh MP was keen to hear what the WP  had to say and is wholly supportive of our position. As  direct result of the meeting, Louise has applied for a debate in parliament to discuss concerns raised by the working party.
Clearly debate at the highest level is significant step in the right direction for the School Support Staff Campaign. It is also testament to working party members who continue to give their time to ensure Sheffield is in a position to recruit and retain high quality support staff.
UNISON would like to take this opportunity to formally thank WP members for their continued commitment and support.

Louise has also submitted a Freedom of Information request regarding how much time Teaching Assistants spend covering classes, an ongoing problem for UNISON and its members.



Schools remain one of the few areas where employees are made compulsory redundant. UNISON has recently renegotiated the Model School Staffing and Redundancy Policy to include an offer of enhanced redundancy payment. This wasn’t previously included in the schools policy and is a hard fought for and welcome addition.
UNISON will continue to put pressure on all school employers regardless of status, to adopt model authority policies and adhere to them in their entirety.


As the Government continues to aggressively pursue its academy agenda, it is vital members continue to receive UNISON support. Members in academies and trusts can be reassured that whatever the status of their school, they will continue to receive strong and effective representation.

Newsletters/ Communication with members:-

Communication is crucial to ensuring members and their representatives work effectively together. School staff in particular can feel isolated from the branch and each other due to the amount of schools and their diverse locations.
For that reason UNISON ensures school specific newsletters are sent to members in schools at least once every term (3 -4 per academic year). This is a bulk mailing sent directly to school addresses and is in addition to the branch newsletters.
Where necessary, members are written to individually. Newsletters are also available to read on the Sheffield UNISON website as is information relating to campaigns and events.

School Stewards:-

We have recently recruited several new school stewards. Unfortunately we are still a long way from achieving our goal of “A Steward In Every School”. To try and encourage school staff,  every newsletter or bulk mailing sent to schools contains information about becoming a steward.

School Steward’s meetings are held in branch once per half term, as well as the usual access to training opportunities.


Remember the 361: The Oaks Disaster: Wear the badge with pride (30/10/15)

Oaks BadgeOaks Memorial Appeal fund badges
£3 each available

At the Miners’ Offices,
2 Huddersfield Road,

Email: remembertheoaks@gmail.com



Your rights as an apprentice (29/10/15)

You can find the 'Your rights as an apprentice' leaflet here...


Sheffield UNISON Macmillan coffee morning success (25/09/15)

Macmillan coffe morning

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

UNISON Sheffield Branch took part in the “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning” on Friday 25th September to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Branch staff generously baked and donated cakes which were then sold to invited visitors and UNISON members. Every cake sold helps Macmillan support someone affected by cancer, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.

At the time of writing the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning has raised £2,092,567.95.

Sheffield UNISON branch raised £105!

Many thanks to all those who contributed to, and attended the event – you have made a difference.

Leftover cakes and sweet treats from the Macmillan Coffee Morning were donated to the Cathedral Archer Project (see article below) and were very much appreciated!

Cathedral Archer Project – Thank you Letter (29/09/15)

Cathedral Archer Project.

City of Sheffield UNISON also supports the Cathedral Archer Project, a locally run charity that supports homeless people in Sheffield.

Leftover cakes and sweet treats from the Macmillan Coffee Morning (see headline above) were donated to the project and were very much appreciated!

We received the letter (below) in response to the donation. If you wish to make donations directly, contact details are on the letter.

Cathedral Archer project thankyou letter


Buying Pension lost due to absence – form (08/04/15)

Before using the online calculator to obtain a quote for buying back lost pension you must first obtain a written statement from your employer. Please download this form and fill it in - your employer is required to provide the information requested to enable you to complete the online form.

Buying Pension Lost Due to Absence pdf


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