Distrust of them

Teachers should stop thinking in terms of "them and us" and start thinking of "them with us". So says schools minister David Miliband as the Government prepares the profession to accept its plans to give classroom assistants a greater role in schools.

Teachers rightly worry that any blurring of responsibilities could lead to tasks that ought to be the preserve of the professional being handed over to unqualified staff. Nevertheless, the Government is right to pursue proposals which, properly implemented, should alleviate teachers' workload. Assistants, too, should reap the benefits of better pay, training and career progression. In time they should provide a valuable new source of qualified teachers. In general, teachers and assistants work amicably together. If teachers are distrustful, it is not of their support staff but of ministers' intentions. Mr Miliband has the chance to show that "them with us" applies to the Government too.

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