Parents are being shortchanged

Your article about newly qualified teaching assistants Praise for Teaching Assistants Studies , December 10, requires a note of caution. Parents, in particular, need to be told what is happening in their schools. Your report says that DCC helped fund th

Your article about newly qualified teaching assistants "Praise for Teaching Assistants' Studies", December 10, requires a note of caution. Parents, in particular, need to be told what is happening in their schools.

Your report says that DCC helped fund those qualifications and their advisor for support staff is quoted as saying "This is a very important event, recognising the move towards the creation of a fully qualified schools' workforce."

These are weasel words; only two years ago Devon had a fully qualified schools' workforce inasmuch as children were always taught by, and in the care of, qualified teachers. This was the law. However, the Government, as a cost-cutting measure, embarked on a process of undermining the teaching profession by re-naming the traditional role of Classroom Assistant to Teaching Assistant and introducing a system of scales so that those with the higher grades you describe (HLTA) can now replace teachers, when cover is needed.

There has never been a shortage of teachers in Devon, indeed for every advertised post there are often hundreds of applicants and to cover for absences in the past, a pool of supply teachers ensured that standards were maintained and that children were taught by fully qualified teachers.


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As more poorly-paid teaching assistants are used in schools to teach classes, the supply teachers are no longer being used, particularly in primary schools, and children are being supervised by HLTAs, who are well-meaning and responsible, but who have neither the four-year qualification nor the wealth of knowledge that the supply teachers have.

Surely, if these people want to teach children, they should embark on a four-year degree course to become fully-qualified teachers and earn a good salary. Parents need to realise that they and their children are being short-changed and should object to the routine use of teaching assistants as replacements for teachers.

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A Devon supply teacher

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