A Fife community is rallying round to support some of education’s unsung heroes by holding a special open day on Saturday.
Joan Millar, who owns the Eva Zeilling Bodyworks salon in Kirkcaldy, decided to raise cash for some of the region’s pupil support assistants, who aid learning and teaching and the development of children with additional support needs.
The cause is one close to her own heart, as her seven-year-old grandson AJ has received help from pupil support assistants and she has concerns about how much funding is being devoted to what she considers a vital part of the education service.
Support for her open day has come in from far and wide, with individuals and businesses donating a huge list of raffle prizes.
Leslie man Ray Howe — better known as Rangers mascot Broxi Bear — has pledged to have his legs waxed at 10am on Saturday before travelling to Ibrox, while Cupar man Alan Farmer will swap garden maintenance for maintenance of a different kind when he gets his back waxed at 2pm to support Joan’s fundraising efforts.
She said: “We have got quite a few clients who come here and their kids have got autism or additional support needs in some shape or form,.
“You don’t know how bad it is until it happens to one of your own and these pupil support assistants are wonderful.
“But it seems like funding is being cut for pupil support assistants, yet they continue to put kids first and need our support.
“I had my daughter in bits, the way AJ was being left some times, but hopefully we can make an impact.”
The fundraising day will be held from 10am to 3pm at the salon in St Clair Street, with activities throughout the day.
With nearly 200,000 school children across Scotland identified as having additional support needs, the Scottish Government recently pledged £15 million towards the recruitment of 1,000 classroom assistants.
The cash will be invested over the next year and be allocated in partnership with local authority body Cosla.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Through listening to the experiences of children and young people with additional support needs, their families and those who support them, we recognise we need to do more to enhance their experience at school.
“Working in partnership with local authorities we will invest an extra £15m in the coming year to increase frontline staff to support learners with additional support needs.
“This will make a significant impact in our classrooms and will help to ensure our young people and their families get the right help at the right time.”