Pupil Support Staff Working Group minutes: December 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the Pupil Support Staff Working Group on 9 December 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • David Roy, Scottish Government
  • Tracy Manning, Scottish Government
  • Frances Foreman, Education Scotland
  • Peter McNaughton, ADES 
  • Louise Wright, Cosla
  • Maria Pridden, Unison
  • Janette Kerr, ASLO (Education Support Officer Dundee City Council)
  • Matthew Sweeney, COSLA


  • Dougie Atkinson, Voice
  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland
  • Deborah Lynch, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Note of last meeting

The Group agreed the note of the meeting held on 4 November 2020.

Understanding roles and responsibilities

The Group briefly discussed the paper from ASLO which collates differences in approach to PSS roles and now includes findings from a third of local authorities. It was acknowledged that roles, responsibilities and job specifications are generally open to interpretation to allow for local flexibility.

Given local authorities have responsibility for their own staffing structure it was felt that it was not immediately clear how this information would be used. It was further acknowledged change in this area could take many years to work through and was not within the immediate locus of the Working Group. Despite this, the group agreed to further develop the paper, add additional information on job descriptions and undertake some analysis on what the findings tell us about the sector.

Professional Learning Scoping Paper

The Group discussed a paper from Fran Foreman that set out a possible national framework for professional learning available to PSS. 

There was general consensus that the NES Framework was a good starting point in terms of developing a PL Framework for PSS.   The proposed levels match existing frameworks and resources that use similar terminology (i.e. autism toolbox). The group also agreed the need to ensure the labelling of categories of learning is well thought through to ensure staff are able to access the learning that meets their needs.

The group also agreed that the most appropriate platform for hosting the framework would be the ES website while remaning conscious of the need to consider branding and copyright of resources. The group acknowledged that education the system remains under significant pressure at the moment and therefore, Group members should seek to populate an initial Framework (without pressing the system) to be tested with the workforce at a later stage. It was felt reducing the risk of duplication across the education system was important as other organisations, notably RICs, also look to take steps to support a wider range of education staff.

Finally the group discussed whether the proposals were ambitious enough to genuinely meet the needs of the sector – it was agreed to keep this under review.


None intimated.

Date of next meeting

Secretariat to canvass for dates in mid-late January 2021.

Action Points

  • Consider how best to communicate the role of the group to the wider education system in an attempt to both raise profile and avoid duplication. (SG/ADES)
  • Convert ASLO paper and associated job descriptions into an overarching paper that explains the spread of practice (SG)
  • Share overview of remit / regrading work that had previously been developed (Maria)
  • Share additional responses following the ASLO meeting on 11 December. (Janette)  
  • Secretariat to canvas for dates in January 2021 for next meeting of the Group.
  • Secretariat to also consider the development of a paper on professional standards for the next meeting of the group.
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