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Q A

Q My head told me I have ultimate responsibility for what is planned, marked and assessed by the teaching assistant who covers my PPA. What do I do?

Yasmin Jan, Oldham

A You sound a bit shocked, miffed even, at your head's policy but perhaps it is just a "quality assurance" mechanism. After all, you are picking up a considerably bigger pay cheque than your teaching assistant.

Malcolm, Gwent

A This is a "where do you draw the line" issue. Is the line, which marks out the extent of your responsibility for the activities of the teaching assistant, being drawn reasonably? If so, you have to like it or lump it.

If not, raise the matter, even if it takes the form of a grievance.

I would consult with colleagues and your union to see where the established boundaries of custom and practice lie.

Sheila, Worthing

A I think your head is "well out of order". But you don't want to come across as someone who is not interested in what the teaching assistant is doing with the class.

That word "responsibility" sounds almost contractual, which is a bit threatening. I think you need to point this out to your head, who should not be tampering with your contract.

Draw a line in the sand on this or you'll be picking litter up in the playground next.

Graham, Crowborough

A Request that the "command" is put in writing. This has the effect of making the head re-visit the decision, and sends out a "I'm not a pushover"

message. People in authority will often be unwilling to generate evidence of any kind when they are not totally sure of their ground.

Margaret, Peacehaven

COMING UP

Why is it socially acceptable to be innumerate but not illiterate? Too often I meet parents who claim they were never good at maths, either.

I'm going to start my secondary PGCE next year and am worried my personality will not be strong enough to cut it in the classroom. Can teaching force a mild-mannered person out of their shell, or are they destined to be eaten alive in the classroom?

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