Dogsbodies? I'd say qualified pros

13th July 2001 at 01:00
I feel compelled to respond to "Dogsbodies who take the load off teachers", (TES, June 22). Firstly, the representation of classroom assistants was one of bored mothers. The women in your article, apparently, didn't need any formal training or qualifications to undertake the role of classroom assistant; in fact it made it appear easy for a woman to step into the role after 14 years of not working. Astonishingly, one classroom assistant, had never heard of an NVQ level 3 and sounded grateful to a friend for enlightening her!

Your article made out that classroom assistants spend the day cutting and sticking, making pictures and books and sharpening pencils. Get real! Why didn't you interview assistants from a busy secondary? People who are able to understand and differentiate work from across the curriculum and can switch from GCSE maths to English, or Year 11 science to Year 9 history.

Headteacher Mike Kent was offensively patronising when he flippantly commented that: "To a certain extent, teaching assistants are dogsbodies in the nicest possible way." Is Mr Kent so insensitive that he cannot see how demeaning his comments are?

Sharon McDonnell Rose Cottage, 3 Staveley Road Sutton-Cum-Duckmanton Chesterfield, Derbyshire

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