Pupils paid to work as cleaners at their school

Should pupils be allowed to work as paid cleaners in their school?

MSP Jackie Baillie has hit out at Argyll and Bute Council for allowing pupils to do this at Islay High, after the school could not find a suitable candidate to carry out part-time cleaning work.

Eight senior pupils were selected to carry out cleaning duties after school, for three hours per week, receiving the same payment as other local authority cleaners.

Jackie Baillie said: “I am astonished that children are being used in this way.

“At a time when unemployment is still at an all-time high I find it incredible that Islay High has been forced to resort to these measures. Pupils attend school to learn not to clean.

“To make matters worse, this work has been allowed to take place in the Education Minister, Mike Russell’s, own local authority area.

“I will be writing to Argyll and Bute Council to ensure that this is not rolled out across all schools in the local authority’s area, including Helensburgh and Lomond.”

A council spoksperson responded: “Across Scotland young people work in part-time jobs which can help them understand the value of work and be a good experience for them.

“Pupils carry out the cleaning after school on a flexible basis and are paid to do so.”


  1. What is the problem with some MSPs they keep banging on about failure to prepare students for a world of work and this is a perfect opportunity for senior students to take responsibility for their surroundings. The pupils at Kiel school all had duties around the school without payment and the general result was they respected the school because they and their peers were the ones who had to clean up any mess.

    The general attitude of many school childen and many of their parents is that it is OK to drop litter in the street and expect the Council to clean it up. A little concern for the public spaces would save council expenditure and reduce the strain on the council tax payers.

    Rather than attempting to pillory the education board in Islay Jackie Bailey and her like should be calling for the scheme to be rolled out across the country.

    • Apparently so; the only reason the pupils were asked is because no candidate wanted the job. As it is 2-3 hours a week is hardly onerous; when I had a paper round it was more like double that.

  2. The problem is probably that it isn’t enough hours to qualify for tax credits and would only be suitable for people not on benefits, if the hours don’t work around full time work it wouldn’t be suitable for anyone looking for secondary employment either. These ‘little’ jobs (as they are often called) are only suitable for people who are not desperate for a real job and want a wee bit ‘pin money’. That is now something of a rarity.

  3. I wish she were attending the parliament to clean rather than to deny youngsters the right to work!

  4. If the school really cannot find anyone on Islay to do this work , then I think this is an excellent idea , especially if it is properly mananged by the school. I would hope the pupils are working a rota of , say , one week’s work followed by one week off ; or two days work one week followed by three days the next week.

Comments are closed.