Assistants - not absentee cover

18th January 2008 at 00:00
The report by the Equal Opportunities Commission on classroom assistants, Valuable Assets, was published in May 2007. Since then, the Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities have been remarkably quiet. Your news item, "Assistants 'exploited', says union" (January 4), again raises the issue of classroom assistants and their role.

Isobel Hutton, the education spokesperson for COSLA, is quoted as saying: "No one has the authority to ask classroom assistants to cover for teachers - if there are any abuses, we would want to know."

Surely it is up to COSLA to be proactive and find out what is happening and make it clear to headteachers that classroom assistants should not be used to cover for absent teachers. Local authorities should check on returns for absences and supply cover and, if they find classroom assistants are being misused, they should take appropriate action.

Valuable Assets made 10 key recommendations. Is it not time that these were revisited and acted upon?

Maureen Laing senior professional officer (Scotland), Professional Association of Teachers and Professionals Allied to Teaching.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now