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School Technicians

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans he has to introduce a career structure for school technicians in (a) secondary and (b) further education recognised throughout England; [119804](2) if he will introduce a national pay scale for school technicians to over-ride local education authority restrictions, and be recognised as a minimum standard by establishment heads; 119805](3) what representations he has received on introducing national levels of pay commensurate with experience, qualifications and responsibilities for school technicians; and from whom.[119807]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: My Department has received a number of representations which propose the introduction of a career structure and national pay scales for school support staff, including science technicians.Since the Royal Society (RS) and Association for Science Education (ASE) published their report on January 2002 we have been working closely with them and with the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services (CLEAPSS) to develop a career structure for science technicians. The work is being taken forward in consultation with the wider scientific community and will take account also of broader advice on school support staff roles being produced by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services. We are aiming to publish guidance this autumn.As part the Government's investment and reform strategy for further education and training, the new DIES Standards Unit will be trialling best-practice teaching and learning materials and teacher training in Level 3 biology, chemistry and physics this summer. The trials will lead to larger scale pilots from September and will give a real boost to science teaching and to the vital support work by science technicians.The Government's position on pay remains that the terms and conditions of employment of school support staff including science technicians are best determined locally, in light of local needs and circumstances. This means that local arrangements cart reflect the fact that, for example, the duties and responsibilities of technicians vary widely between schools. The National Agreement on Raising Standards on Tackling Workload, signed by the Government, local authority employers and school workforce unions on 15 January this year, will improve training and career progression opportunities for support staff and makes clear that we expect their pay to reflect their level of training, skills and responsibilities.