Life on less than pound;6,000 a year

24th September 2004 at 01:00
I read with interest your article (TES, September 17) concerning rates of pay in education. However, I feel many readers will be misled by the rates of pay you described for teaching assistants.

I work for 20 hours per week (in my authority, most teaching assistants cannot work more than 20 to 25 hours per week), and am only paid for term time. I am also not paid for breaktime or lunchtime, although I always work through about 40 minutes of lunchtime every day. I also take home at least an hour's work each evening. I work hard for my money, and am unable to take paid time off. In effect, therefore, I have no paid holidays.

Teaching assistants cannot claim any benefits during the holidays, and many work under short-term contracts.

Our hours are always first to be cut if financial crisis looms, and we are the ones asked to voluntarily cover lunchtime duties when shortages mean there is no available money for lunchtime supervisors. I undertake whole-class teaching (although I did ask for this extra responsibility), and have also provided some supply cover when funds and time did not allow for alternative arrangements to be made.

It's fortunate that I love my job, because I do all this for the paltry sum of pound;5,790 per year, gross.

Mrs R E Preece-Dawson Wrickton Mill Forge Cleobury North Bridgnorth Shropshire

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