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Teaching assistants: the full story

I was heartened to read a positive news story on support staff in TES ("Teaching assistants do make a difference", 7 February). My staff and I work with teaching assistants (TAs) every day and know just how integral they are to education.

I was pleased to read Peter Blatchford acknowledge that the findings of his study may have caused TAs to be misrepresented in the media. Unfairly, the role has been typecast as a diversion from the "proper" teacher, isolating struggling students from those who have professional qualifications.

The TAs we help to place contribute to school life on a much wider scale. Indeed, the study from England's Education Endowment Foundation shows that TAs can improve literacy and numeracy. The inference that TAs are second-class citizens in schools could not be further from the truth. The role also offers bright, driven individuals a non-traditional route into teaching.

Michaela Powell, Managing director, Aspire People.

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