Catherine standing at a podium speaking at Unison's Support Staff Conference

Catherine addressed Unison’s Support Staff Conference to set out Labour’s vision for schools, including the Party’s policy to bring back the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB).


The latest survey of nearly 18,000 National Education Union members reveals the extent of the support staff crisis, with almost a quarter of support staff respondents (23%) reporting that they will no longer be working in education by 2025, and almost half (48%) expect to leave by 2028.

The School Support Staff Negotiating Body was created by the last Labour Government to give support staff a voice in negotiations over pay and conditions before it was scrapped shortly after the Coalition government took power by then education secretary Michael Gove.

In her speech, Catherine highlighted the need to address ‘support staff and teachers feeling exhausted and underappreciated’ following a range of issues from fourteen years of Conservative governments, including crumbling buildings due to RAAC and an outdated and ineffective Ofsted inspection regime.

Commenting on the policy, Catherine said that Labour’s plan to reintroduce the Negotiating Body would: ‘ensure a proper voice for the staff who power our schools, bringing consistency to terms and conditions.’

Catherine finished her speech by saying: ‘I know what it would mean to be working in a school alongside Government, not against them. 

And that will be the choice to make when that General Election comes.

More of the absolute chaos we have seen under 14 years of the Tories.

Or a Labour Government who will listen and work with you, to deliver the change our schools need.’