Letters extra: role for learning support assistants

12th April 2001 at 01:00

We are writing in response to the letters ( TES March 30) about classroom assistants.

We are not mothers who work in schools so that we can be at home to look after our children during the holidays, but a highly trained and vital part of the education system. Without us, how would the teacher find the time for small group work, listening to children read, carrying out occupational therapy programmes, dealing with disruptive children as well as teaching the whole class?

Why not create a new post of specialist teacher assistant? They would not have qualified teacher status but would be classed as an unqualified teacher and be able to take a class on their own when necessary. These assistants could be used as supply cover within the school. This would be cheaper than paying for supply teachersnbsp;from outside. It would also be better for the children as they would be familiar with thenbsp;assistant and there would be no unsettling change in routine.

Learning support assistants are willing to plug the gap as they frequently do, but feel they are being taken advantage of as cheap labour. We know that we are not qualified teachers, but we do teach and have the knowledge and training to do this. A good teacher and a good LSA are a team and this benefits every child in a school.

Mrs K Birch and Mrs M Broom
Hythe, Kent

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