Letters Extra: Teaching assistants' role must be thought through
It is all very well suggesting all the things that teaching assistants could take over from teachers but where and when are they going to be trained?
As a secondary school subject specialist, the biggest problem I find is that teaching assistants move from class to class and are not based in any one subject. This often leads to them reinforcing common misconceptions to the pupils! If every secondary teacher was allocated a teaching assistant then they would, after a year, have a very good subject knowledge. This would be a very effective form of training from which both the teacher and the assistant would benefit.
There could also be other teaching assistants who allocated to individuals or groups, who could focus on SpLD (Specific learning difficulties) rather than subjects. This would add another dimension to the proposed career structure of teaching assistants.
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