Sheffield Schools

UNISON has 2,400 members in approximately 170 schools in the city. These staff include caretakers, admin. staff, teaching assistants level 1-4, school crossing patrol, cleaners, mid-day supervisory assistants and catering assistants.

We constantly campaign for better pay and to ensure terms and conditions are protected. We want to encourage as many members as possible to become stewards so we can carry out this vital work effectively so please consider getting more active in your union.


Stewards are the backbone of UNISON. Without stewards there would be no one there to act as the link between members and the union and to organise and support people in the workplace.

What does a UNISON steward do?

What does a UNISON steward do?

As a steward you can:

  • Talk to, recruit and organise members around workplace issues
  • Talk to members about workplace problems, advise them and keep them informed of latest developments
  • Represent members in your workplace
  • Be involved in how your branch and union is run.

What if I am worried I cannot do everything?

Different stewards get involved in different activities depending on experience, skills and time factors.

UNISON is very much in favour of job sharing for stewards. This way you can spread the load, work together and support each other. Job sharing should be agreed with your branch.

You could also consider becoming a workplace contact and see how much you are willing and able to do. To find out more go to Workplace Contacts.

What rights do I get as a steward?

In workplaces where UNISON is recognised by the employer, stewards have rights to time off for training and to carry out their work. This includes:

  • Meetings with members and management
  • Preparation and research
  • Keeping members informed.

Do I get any training?

All new stewards are encouraged to go on an induction course and on a course for handling grievances and disciplinary matters.

You will receive regular information on training courses covering a wide range of workplace issues. These are normally run at regional level.

How many stewards are needed?

UNISON aims to have a steward in every school.

This is particularly important in light of the increase in schools moving to academy status and the budget cuts facing all council departments.

If you are interested in becoming a school steward or worksite contact, please ring UNISON on 2736307.

If you require additional information, please contact UNISON’s Education Convenors, Lisa Smith, Rod Padley or Jane Knight.

School cuts - is yours one of them?

School cuts

Dowload the leaflet here... pdf

Latest News

Latest Schools newsletter published - Spring 2019
School Funding Ballot - Time for Action (30/01/19)

Schools ballot

Please see below the School Funding Ballot power point bulletin.

In response to education funding cuts, and the disproportionate impact they have on school support staff,  UNISON is balloting members employed by publically funded schools/academies and free schools/local authorities.

Please note this ballot will be conducted via email only and runs from Tuesday 22nd January to Tuesday 5th March 2019.

If you are a school worker, or know someone who is that hasn’t received an email with a link to the ballot, please contact the branch office asap to update your contact details.


Stars in our Schools Newsletter - November 2018
Administration of Medicines - Agreed allowances

Dear Member

Even though the Voluntary Staffing Model for school support staff to support the management of medicines in schools and education settings has been in place for a number of years, members still regularly contact UNISON to say they are not sure if they are entitled to payment or that their school is reluctant to pay the agreed allowances.

Please see below the Voluntary Staffing Model for the Administration of Medicines (Appendix B 104 KB) and all other information relating to this agreement.

To briefly explain, taking on the role of administering medicines remains voluntary. Those staff who do volunteer should be paid accordingly.

As it is a voluntary role, any member of support staff can undertake the administration of medicines as long as the Headteacher believes they are capable and ensures they are fully trained and covered by the schools insurance.

Appendix B (46KB) has the payments attached and an outline of duties.
The list is not exhaustive and if the person administering the medicines is responsible for recording what has been administered, the £1000 per annum (FTE) payment should apply.

It is advisable that at least 2 or 3 people are trained and paid to administer medicines to ensure the school is covered for staff absence, school trips etc.
Please also note, even if the volunteer is only required to administer medicines periodically the FTE payment applies. This is not a piecemeal payment.
While a £1000 is a significant additional payment to a low paid member of support staff, it is wholly affordable within a school budget.

If you have further questions regarding the guidance and/or your school is reluctant to pay the allowances, please do not hesitate to contact the branch office.

Sheffield City Councillors clearly outline the authority’s position on academies (26/10/17)

UNISON welcomes local councillors from the Park and Arbourthorne ward, including Julie Dore Leader of Sheffield City Council and the Heeley MP Louise Haigh, clearly outlining the local authority’s position on schools voluntarily opting to become academies.

You can find the letter from Labour Councillors Jack Scott, Julie Dore, Ben Miskell and Louise Haigh here...


Schools newsletter: Autumn 2017 (26/10/17)

You can find the latest schools newsletter here...


  • Is your school considering becoming an Academy
  • UNISON wins for everyone at work
  • Voluntary Academisation of Norfolk Community Primary
  • Meet your Representatives
  • Stars in our schools
  • Why are stewards so important
School Funding England (10/10/17)

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced the outcome of their consultation of the future of school funding in England. There are some significant changes from the original proposals announced earlier in the year.

They have stated that there will be an additional £1.3 billion pounds for school funding over the next two years and that no local authority will face cuts in per pupil funding. They have also introduced increased minimum funding levels for the lowest funded authorities that will give some schools more significant increases in funding.

These improvements would never have happened without the campaign by trade unions, parents and communities to expose the cuts being faced by schools. I would like to take this opportunity to thank members and branches for all their work in campaigning against school cuts.

Whilst UNISON has cautiously welcomed these improvements to the proposals, we do not believe they are enough and we still have major concerns about the future of school funding.

UNISON Concerns

  • The extra £1.3 billion is not new money. It has been recycled from other areas of the DfE budget.
  • It still represents a below inflation increase in funding for schools.
  • 88% of schools will still face real terms cuts in per pupil funding
  • There is no certainty about what will happen with school funding after 2019/20
  • The settlement does nothing to reverse that substantial funding cuts that schools have suffered since 2010.
  • Schools continue to struggle with limited resources and increasing class sizes
  • There’s no additional money for early years or sixth form pupils

School Funding Lobby 24 October

UNISON believes that there needs to be a substantial increase in funding for schools and that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond needs to increase school funding when he sets next year’s budget in November.

That’s why UNISON and other education unions are holding a Lobby Against School Cuts on 24 October. We have to show MPs that school funding is still in crisis and that real increases in funding are needed.

The lobby will take place on 24 October, from 9:30am onwards at Emmanuel Centre, Marsham St, Westminster SW1P 3DW.
For more information about the lobby and for details on how to contact your MP click here

What UNISON wants

We are calling on the Chancellor to invest in education and children and young people when he delivers his Budget statement to Parliament this autumn. We want:

  • additional funding to reverse all funding cuts to date
  • the resources to implement a fair funding formula
  • no real terms cuts to any school over the next five years.
  • Fair funding for early years and sixth form pupils

Further information on school cuts can also be found on the joint unions’ school cuts website:   click here


Schools Working Party Update – April 2017

In response to the unprecedented level of cuts to school budgets, UNISON has joined the Stop Education Cuts in Sheffield (SECS) campaign.

The first meeting took place on 27/03/17. A number of Sheffield City Councillors attended, including Jackie Drayton Cabinet Member for CYPF. Amongst other things, the group called on the council to publically campaign against real terms cuts to school budgets. They responded swiftly with the press release below.

If you wish to join the new SECS campaign or the existing School Support Staff Working Party, please contact Lisa Smith:-

School Funding campaign

Council calls on government to halt “divisive” funding formula for schools -
April 2017

Sheffield’s Labour councillors are seeking to get the council's full backing on Wednesday, for their motion demanding that the government stop and think again regarding their funding policies for schools.

The government is imposing real term cuts on schools by freezing per-pupil funding at the same time that inflation and school costs increase, and this will affect all schools and academies alike. For the first time in nearly twenty years, the schools budget will not be either protected in real terms and instead funding is only protected in cash terms.
The government is seeking to phase out the Education Services Grant and instead propose a funding formula to readdress imbalances and unfairness in current funding. However, the new proposals have been deemed “divisive” and “completely inadequate” as a means of providing needed funds for schools.

Labour are calling on all schools, parents and carers across Sheffield to write to the Government and local MPs about the cuts to funding, which could risk the viability of some schools. Labour, Unison, NUT and the Headteachers Unions are united in opposing the new formula and demanding the Government adopt a fair approach to funding education. Even amongst schools who are set to gain initially, they will suffer disproportionately from the government’s overall cuts

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families, said: The government’s funding formula is divisive, unfair and pits schools against schools, local authorities against each other, and primaries against secondary schools.

“I am proud to be working alongside the Trade Unions, teachers, support staff, governors, parents and carers to get more funding for Sheffield schools”.

“I call on all from across the city who care about education to write to the government urging them to reconsider their school funding plans.

“The proposed new funding formula will simply redistribute a sum of money that is inadequate to support schools. Shockingly by 2019 Sheffield schools will see an average pupil funding decrease of around 10% - approximately £350 per pupil.

Councillor Craig Gamble-Pugh, who proposed the motion for council, said:
“It is outrageous that schools across our city will be worse off. Schools are already struggling to manage budget deficits and there are shortages of teachers and a widening attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers.

“We need new extra funding for our existing schools, and the government needed to do this with their recent budget. They rejected our calls but unforgivably found an extra £500 million for grammar and free schools instead, which we totally oppose.

“The Conservatives’ divisive policies are forcing schools to scramble for funding. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and we are calling for support for the More Funding for all Sheffield Schools’ Campaign.

“We are fighting for funding to be found for schools, not from the proposed redistribution of cash between local authorities or from taking money from primary schools to give to secondary schools, but for new money which is badly needed”.


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