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Don't knock support staff;Letter

I WAS drawn by the picture of the grumpy chef wielding a rolling pin to what I hope is a very tongue-in-cheek article by Kevin Berry (First Appointments, TES, January 8) on the merits of newly-appointed teachers keeping on the right side of secretaries, dinner ladies and non-teaching assistants. I read the article twice and then became rather annoyed.

For the past 12 years, I have worked as a non-teaching assistant in all areas of education - infant, junior, senior, mainstream and now in a school for children with severe learning difficulties.

Most NTAs are professional, well-trained and highly-motivated workers. with good planning and liaison with class teachers, health professionals and school special-needs co-ordinators, they can be a great asset to the children in their class, not just the particular children with whom they work the closest.

There have been many times in my career when I have felt that I have had to "walk on eggshells" due to unhelpful remarks made to me by well-meaning teachers but I know and recognise that the contribution which I make to my school and class is, most of the time, greatly valued. It is time that non-teaching staff, including secretaries and dinner ladies, were given higher status and appreciated for the work they do.

Penny Borkett, 2 Riddings, Allestree, Derby

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