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In support of support staff

I read with interest your report on the issue of using support staff as replacement teachers in classrooms, which was raised at the NASUWT's annual conference and is seen as an abuse which threatens standards of education (29 April).

It surely raises the question whether the teaching assistants referred to had a choice in the matter. Indeed perhaps the whole issue of support staff in schools and how they're deployed needs to be looked at.

Most support staff are female and have put careers on hold for their children, thus bringing invaluable skills and experience to a school. However, while support staff are widely respected and appreciated for their commitment and dedication, most are notoriously low paid, which is very morale-sapping.

Demoralised staff can be exploited. Often duties are allocated to them with no prior discussion as to the appropriateness, eg supervising pupils that have been removed from class.

School librarian who wishes to remain anonymous.

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