Understanding the invisible workforce: Education support personnel’s roles, needs and the challenges they face

published 16 May 2019 updated 4 January 2022
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Education Support Personnel (ESP) play a vital role in promoting quality education, fostering a safe and positive learning environment for all students, and ensuring that schools and educational institutions function effectively. ESP cover a wide range of people working in the education sector, and despite being an essential part of the education workforce, the work that ESP do is often unrecognised and undervalued.

This research made use of a survey for ESP and a survey for union leaders to explore the differences and similarities between seven case study countries: Brazil, Canada (Quebec), France, New Zealand, Philippines, USA, and Zimbabwe.

The surveys focused on the characteristics of ESP, their employment and working conditions, and support provided by their unions. In total, 3,012 ESP around the world responded to the survey.

Based on the findings of the study, the author formulates a number of recommendations for unions, making a clear case for union advocacy on behalf of Education Support Personnel.