Teaching assistants or cut price teachers?

Unison finally noticed that teaching assistants are being used as cheap teachers:

Christine McAnea, of Unison, said the practice was “endemic” as it cost less to use support staff to cover teacher absence than to buy supply teachers.

England schools Minister Jim Knight said teaching assistants eased the burden on teachers, but should not lead classes “for more than a short period”

It costs about £150 a day to employ a supply teacher, but about £50 to pay support staff.

Rosemary Plummer, a Unison representative, said in the last few months more than 40 teaching assistants from a small area of London had told her they felt they were being asked to do more than they were qualified for.

“They’re delivering maths, they’re delivering literacy and marking work – that’s a teacher’s job… they’re being used as cut-price teachers,” she said.

You don’t say? Can you believe they’ve only just noticed? I don’t understand why is the NUT not screaming about this too, it is teachers they are replacing after all. Maybe supply and part time cover teachers don’t matter either.

Many teaching assistants are extremely competent but they are not teachers. I know TAs in primary who are doing all their own planning, target setting, and marking for the teachers whose PPA time they cover. For this they are paid only for the hours they actually teach, (no planning time), at Level 3 – not even HLTA rates, even though they are qualified to that level. They also have the joy of teaching with no support, which never happens to the normal teacher in that class.



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