As SNAs will know, there is a bank of hours that, should there be work available, SNAs can be called on to work from time to time.
It's important to note that the '72 hours' is not a target. In many schools, there will be no need to work any additional time during the year.
More significantly, an SNA can only be asked to undertake work that is SNA-appropriate during this time.
Over the years we've come across some examples of work that SNAs have, on occasion, been asked to undertake that are unacceptable.
We are compiling a list of examples of these unacceptable practices. This list isn't exhaustive. We'll add to it if we discover other unacceptable and inappropriate practices.
The unacceptable practices identified so far include:
- Cleaning toilets
- Working at the reception
- Directing traffic
- Laminating and shredding for the whole school
- Painting classroom
- Making tea/coffee for teachers and parents during meetings
- Bar coding all books in the school
- Cleaning the library
- Building maintenance
- Cleaning windows
- Cleaning cars
- Cleaning and mopping the floor
- Homework club
- Book covering
- Administration/clerical Work (any work that would take work away from, or would normally be completed by a school secretary)
- Breakfast clubs
- Cleaning out lockers
- Photocopying for the whole school population
Does an SNA have a supervision function?
The responsibility for supervision cannot be delegated to SNAs. This is clarified in Circular 30/2014, which confirms that supervision is a responsibility that lies with a teacher and not an SNA. It is, however, part of the SNA role to assist teachers with supervision but, generally, an SNA cannot be left in sole control of a class or playground.
Appendix 1 of the SNA contract clarifies this:
“Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils during assembly, recreation and dispersal form the classroom for one reason or another.”
This means that if a teacher is present and supervising, an SNA may assist. However, an SNA may not supervise by themselves. It's not part of their contract. There are only very limited circumstances where a school can make a case to allow an SNA to supervise.
It is particularly important to note that the Department of Education and Skills has a substitution scheme in place where a teacher is absent. There are no circumstances where, in the absence of a teacher, an SNA should be expected to take control of a class.
SNA contract issues: archive
Since April we've been publishing a special segment focussing on contract issues facing SNAs. Devised and written by assistant general secretary Seán Carabini, It has proved to be one of the most popular items in the Education news bulletin.
We've archived all of these items for ease of access, and will publish an updated archive in each future edition of the bulletin.
If you have SNA contract issues you'd like to see covered in the bulletin, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include 'SNA contract issues for the news bulletin' in the subject heading.