Help assistants to add more value

22nd July 2005 at 01:00
In your leader column, "Pay peanuts and expect miracles" (TES, June 10), you set a challenge to the General Teaching Council for England regarding our stance on teaching assistants.

We believe that every child is entitled to be taught by a qualified teacher.

We believe that teaching assistants also have a valuable role to play in helping children learn, working under the direction of the teacher.

The role of the teaching assistant is complementary to that of the qualified teacher - not a replacement for it. However, this does not mean that the assistant can never be out of the teacher's sight, or that they can never work with a class or class group without direct supervision.

Teaching assistants should not be regarded as a money-saving alternative to a qualified teacher. It is vital that all support staff should, in common with qualified teachers, have access to a well-defined career structure which takes full account of their training and professional development needs.

Future workforce development must be founded on strong evidence of the pupils' impact of the contribution made by teaching assistants to learning.

And the implications for teachers' time of working with and managing support staff must also be recognised.

With good planning, the role of the assistant neither undermines the role of the qualified teacher, nor disadvantages pupils. In fact, it can add value to both.

Carol Adams Chief executive General Teaching Council for England

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today