That is not to say that assistants should be left just to tie shoelaces and clean up the paints. The presence of a second adult in the room can encourage pupils, who otherwise find the teacher's time split in up to 30 short segments. Practice in reading, writing and numeracy can be overseen. Children gain without the teacher losing.
Extra burdens through major change to the curriculum and its assessment appear inescapable for teachers. But if the job is destined to change and become more challenging, opportunities for easing some of the strains have to be welcome. The profession, or at least its union voice, has a record of reacting to new demands by obdurate adherence to traditional ways. But why look a gift-horse in the mouth?