Stars in Our Schools

Stars in Our Schools is an annual celebration of school support staff. This year the event will take place on Friday 24 November 2023 – but we encourage schools to join in whenever suits them!

It takes a whole team to make a school a safe and happy place for all children. School support staff help children learn, keep them safe and happy and make sure schools run smoothly. They are the caterers, admin staff, finance officers, teaching assistants, librarians, ICT technicians and many more roles.

Schools across the UK will plan a range of activities including coffee mornings, tea parties and special assemblies to say thank you to support staff.

This celebration day is for everyone to get involved: parents, carers, teachers, head teachers, as well as the support staff themselves.

More information can be found at Stars in Our Schools

Get involved

In November, schools across the country will celebrate the people behind the scenes who help children learn, keep them safe and healthy and make sure schools run smoothly.

Want to get involved this year, or at any time of year? Below are a few ideas to get you started:

Nominating a Star for a prize

Is there a star in your school who deserves recognition? If so, nominate them when the prize draw opens in the autumn and you could both win £25 vouchers.

Giving children an opportunity to get to know school support staff better

  • Invite all support staff to join the children for a special lunch – include cleaners, ground staff and other ‘hidden’ staff.

  • Make time for kitchen and lunch staff to join the children and talk about the food they eat and why it matters.

  • Hold a quiz for children about what school support staff do.

  • Get children to help support staff for a day – keeping the playground clean, helping to set the lunch tables, older children helping younger ones with reading, painting, or writing.

Making a big fuss of school support staff

  • Ask pupils to nominate the best member of the support staff and have an awards ceremony or special assembly to announce the winners.

  • Ask classroom staff to run a competition along the theme “How do our support staff make our school better?”. This could be art, poetry, dance, singing or anything else you can think of.

  • Print out posters to put around the school.

  • Ask children to write a story or poem about the different support staff.

  • Ask parents to come into school for a special ceremony or assembly where support staff are honoured with certificates. Parents could bake a celebratory cake.

  • Hold a “coffee morning” for all support staff.

  • Make support staff VIPs for the day.

Making sure everyone knows how important school support staff are 

  • Take a photo of all the support staff and put it on a noticeboard so that all children and parents can see.

  • Contact your Parent Teacher Association and ask them to get involved. Invite them to the school’s celebration.

  • Write to your local newspaper to let them know you’re celebrating support staff.

  • Contact your governors and ask them to get involved. Invite them to the school’s celebration.

  • Invite your MP and local councillor to your special event so they can see how important school support staff are.

  • Have heads and teachers shadow support staff for a day, or even invite your MP and councillors to shadow them!

Just for fun

  • Hold a face painting competition

  • Ask pupils and staff to dress up as super heroes for the day

  • Hold a ‘Stars in your eyes’ competition

School support staff play such an important role in children’s education. UNISON campaigns for better pay, conditions and training opportunities for them, and we want everyone to celebrate what a vital role they play and give them the recognition they deserve.

We would love to publish your blogs, quotes and messages of support and hear from heads, teachers, parents, governors and children about the difference school support staff make at school. Please email us, tweet us @UNISONinSchools and follow us on Facebook using #starsinourschools.