The non-teaching staff of school clusters and non-clustered schools are part of the general regime of public administration, which are defined by the General Employment Law for Public Office approved by Law No 35/2014, 20 June, which regulates employment in public service.
In the past, such non-teaching staff had a specific statutory system established by Decree-Law No 184/2004, 29 July, which is not fully implemented currently.
Decree-Law No 21/2019 defined the framework for transferring powers to local authorities regarding education. Subsequently, Despatch No 3689/2022, 29 March, regulated certain issues related to non-teaching staff, which regarded workers with a public employment contract for the position of head of school administration services and the general careers of technical assistant and operational assistant being transferred to local authority staff.
Non-teaching staff are mainly categorised as technical assistants and operational assistants in the public administration general career, involved in administrative activities, educational and auxiliary support.
Non-teaching staff are also included in the general senior staff career for the duties of psychologist as part of psychology and guidance services. This category also includes social workers, speech therapists, sociocultural staff, mediators, among others. Some non-teaching employees do not come under the Ministry of Education (ME) but rather the local municipal councils in conformity with No. 1, Article 4 in Law No 114/2008, 28 July.
To make this possible, contracts are signed between the Ministry of Education and the local councils, in agreement with Article 12 of the same Law. In 1998, as part of the FOCO Programme (continuing professional development for teachers and educational administration heads), training was established for non-teaching staff working in schools and educational facilities in the following areas: pedagogical and human relations; organisational development; school management and administration; specific areas of professional activity; information and communication technologies.
Law No 184/2004, 29 July (see link above), approved the legal framework regarding non-teaching staff in public non-higher education schools and establishments. One of the chapters established professional training as structural to quality schools, where all education staff played an important role. The increasing organisation of school and its ever-increasing link with the educational community generated additional complexities regarding the duties that non-teaching staff had to perform. As such, it became necessary to regulate and develop systematic vocational training to encourage these employees to offer a higher standard of quality service.
Decree-Law No 86-A/2016, 29 December, updated, developed and improved the public administration vocational training system, including non-teaching staff in schools, considering the strategic role of professional development and training in the modernisation and transformation of public administration.