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Standing in for teacher

WHEN Katie Powers joined Prince Albert junior and infant school, Birmingham, she provided support in numeracy and literacy classes.

Three-and-a-half years later, she is responsible for ten support staff. She arranges their timetable, training and takes lessons. "Not everybody wants the extra responsibility," said Mrs Powers, "but it gives me a bit of a challenge."

She has qualifications as a specialist assistant, but has no ambition to be a teacher.

Dave Brodie, head of the 750-pupil school, has guaranteed two days per half-term non-contact time for teachers, made possible by assistants taking classes. Teachers prepare lessons that are delivered by two assistants, one of whom is well-qualified.

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