Pupil Support Staff Working Group minutes: December 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 7 December 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • David Roy, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Marion MacRury, Scottish Government (minutes)
  • Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland
  • Bernadette Casey, AHDS
  • Lucinda Fass, Scottish Government
  • Frances Foreman, Education Scotland
  • Fearghal Kelly, Scottish Government
  • Janette Kerr, ASLO (Education Support Officer Dundee City Council)
  • Scott Miller, Scottish Government
  • Maria Pridden, Unison
  • Jo Fell, Fife Council (Training & Development Officer)
  • Deborah Lynch, Scottish Government
  • Louise White, COSLA


  • Peter McNaughton, ADES 

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair (DR) welcomed members to the meeting and advised that Fearghal Kelly and Lucinda Fass were attending the meeting.

Note of last meeting

The minute of the last meeting of 28 September was approved and the following update on action points was provided:

  • action 3.1: Scottish Government (SG) to issue e-mail for further comment on SG/Green Party Agreement in relation to Pupil Support Staff (PSS), and to arrange follow up discussions with some members -on-going - to be discussed under item three
  • action 6.1: SM to arrange follow-up discussions with members to finalise engagement strategy – ongoing – to be undertaken when content with consultation document
  • action 6.2: SM/MMR to seek input from Learning Analysis colleagues - ongoing – as above
  • action 6.3: SM to redraft as one overarching document by early December – completed and on agenda at item 4.1
  • action 7.1: ES to develop models and costings for initial development of resource and discuss with SG. Fran Foreman advised that the current platform was working well. Janette Kerr (JK) advised that it had been very well received and easy accessible to staff in Dundee. It was therefore agreed to retain on the National Improvement Hub for now. DR advised that due to SG financial rules, potential funds available to support development of a platform would need to returned, if spend was not feasible in this financial year
  • action 10.1: SG to trawl and schedule meeting for early December – completed

Update on SG support to PSSWG & SG/Green Party commitments

DR advised that due to divisional restructuring, as a result of the wider education reform programme, that responsibility for the Pupil Support Staff Working Group (PSSWG) was transferring to colleagues in the Workforce & Infrastructure Unit. Scott Miller, Marion MacRury and DR would not be transferring and the PSSWG would be supported by Fearghal Kelly and other colleagues from January 2022. It was stressed that this was not due to a lack of commitment but increased logic of now sitting with workforce colleagues, as well as bringing together with FK’s policy responsibility for professional learning. FK noted that an additional staff member would be recruited. Fran Foreman thanked DR, SM and MMR for their contribution to the PSSWG.

Framework and standards update

DR referred to the circulated draft paper, and thanked those who had submitted comments in advance. SM then summarised the paper which had been combined as one overarching document, spilt into the following four sections:

  • Vision and Values
  • Professional Learning Framework
  • Skills & Knowledge Framework
  • Additional Support Needs Assistants – Qualification and Registration

SM sought views on the sections and questions as to whether they were capturing the right information. Members commented that it was a good draft with the following initial comments being made:

  • lengthy document that PSS might be put off by and would require time set-aside to complete. Could it be broken up and/or could introductory text be reduced?
  • required clarity on purpose of each section of the consultation and what would change as a result
  • currently not accessible for CYP – query potential for another version
  • include link to Additional Support Needs (ASN) action plan and other relevant policy
  • need to be clear who consultation is directed at
  • reduce level of detail included on Framework
  • reference to language of “classroom assistants” in section four

SM noted the feedback provided noting that there were accessibility and other requirements that contributed to the length but he would endeavour to reduce length where possible, whilst advising that it would not appear as lengthy when uploaded to Citizen Space. 

The purpose was clarified as a consultation on behalf of the PSSWG on the products developed to date with the aim of gathering views from both PSS and the wider education workforce.

Members commented on the language in section 4 but understood that it related to that used in the Green Party agreement. It was therefore suggested to include a question about specific language in Section four. FF noted it would be helpful to include information gained by the PSSWG from the exercise as to the extent of job titles/roles across the 32 local authorities. It was also suggested including a footnote as to what was included in the Green Party Manifesto/Agreement?

After some discussion on for splitting up consultation it was agreed that there was merit in taking the opportunity to consult on all elements, including Section four. SG to seek advice / guidance on potential of different versions/presentation for different audiences. Members were asked to share with colleagues and provide feedback and any further comments prior to Christmas break. It was noted that Green Party would also need to be sighted on the draft consultation

Action 4.1: members to seek feedback on draft consultation doc from colleagues, and provide written comments to SM prior to Christmas break.

Action 4.2: SM to redraft/refine document, taking account of feedback for beginning January.

Action 4.3: SG to seek guidance on differing versions/presentation.

Online platform options update

Main update had been provided under action point update. FF advised that the Professional Learning Framework had received 14,000 hits to date and was hosted prominently on the National Improvement Hub (NIH). Staff were currently refreshing HWB and Inclusion content, and would then focus on more specialised support. FF thanked the PSSWG for their help and support in the development to date.

FK enquired re alignment with broader Education Scotland Professional Learning Offer. FF advised of requirement to map to GTCS/SSSC etc. Decision therefore to host on NIH as open accessible platform. FF advised she was working closely with team on transformational change, who are aware of technical issue.

Next steps

DR recapped next steps for further comments / feedback to be submitted prior to Christmas break to allow for redrafting and consideration/sign-off in January 2022.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed to schedule a meeting mid-late January. DR wished the group well with the continued work of the PSSWG and wished all a good festive break.

Action 7.1: SG to canvass for January meeting dates.

Summary of action points

  • action 4.1: members to seek feedback on draft consultation doc from colleagues, and provide written comments to SM prior to Christmas break
  • action 4.2: SM to redraft/refine document, taking account of feedback for beginning January
  • action 4.3: SG to seek guidance on differing versions/presentation
  • action 7.1: SG to canvass for January meeting dates
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