Scurrilous abuse of women?

30th March 2001 at 01:00
Tim Brighouse, Birmingham's chief education officer, wants classroom assistants to "plug the gaps" and cover for teachers.

But what tasks are they actually performing, as they "plug the gaps"? Are they actually teaching or simply supervising (and incidentally, what is the difference)?

If it is the former then they should indeed be paid the same as teachers. If, however, they are not really teaching then they are masquerading as teachers.

Apart from the conclusion that this will not raise sandards, this would be an insult to pupils and parents alike. It will not be assistants' fault that they have been put in this unfortunate position, it will be Mr Brighouse's.

I believe that his policy is scurrilous. It is the total manipulation of assistants and is abusive. I note further that more than 99 per cent of all classroom assistants are women.

MG Stephenson, chair

Confederation of Learning Assistants with Special Skills (CLASS)

83 Maple Road,

Dartford, Kent


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