Last week's issue reported research by Exeter university academics which has led to a new national qualification for teaching assistants being approved by the QCA. This is not an NVQ, but a practical qualification based on peer-group assessment, opening up new avenues for recognition of skills and career development among teaching assistants. It is within the new Qualification Framework at level 3. The role of assistant is complementary to that of teacher and should be given the professional status it deserves.
The researchers in no way describe teaching assistants as "pond life", and hope a raise in professional status following this new qualification will mean TAs no longer speak of themselves in such humble terms.
Schools interested in taking part in the national pilot of the new award during 2006-7, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Debbie Morgan
Dr Phil Bayliss
Dr Glynis Pratchett
University of Exeter