Underpaid staff deserve better

8th September 2000 at 01:00
SUE Palmer is harbouring a misconception about learning support assistants.

As an (exhausted) teacher of 10 years, I was amazed and delighted by the assistants at Alderman Blaxill school in Essex.

In fact, when I started supply work there, I was not only supported in the classroom (yes, Ms Palmer, they ARE teachers, for significantly less money) but also supplied with information about students with special needs, an area the school has received much acclaim for.

I should also mention the hundreds of times I was given a lift home, welcomed and refreshed in their offices, and allowed to let off stea at stressful times.

I will never forget when the winner of the talent show, a 13-year-old, came off stage after getting his award and made straight for his learning support assistant.

I often relied on assistants not only for disciplinary but also academic matters, and I will not see them put down in this way.

Perhaps if Ms Palmer returned to teaching for five minutes she would see the terrific (and grossly underpaid) work assistants do.

Incidentally, for the record, piano teachers do a hell of a lot more than "teach Fur Elise" these days.

Tom Prunty



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