As someone who undertook the PGCE as a mature student after many years as a parent helper in school, I would just like to say that classroom assistants are a wonderful resource and deserve better pay.
Different schools treat classroom assistants differently on job criteria - and even on where they get to take coffee breaks. One school I know has its classroom assistants eat lunch and have coffee in the photocopy room.
In my probation year, I had a wonderful team of classroom assistants to help me find things in the school and support pupils in my class. They got terrible cheek from some kids.
The school has empowered staff with a yellow and red card warning system.
Pupils are much more respectful toward office staff and classroom assistants. It also shows that the school values them as a vital part of the team.
Posted by jacqui.rod