Valuable role

7th March 1997 at 00:00
I was delighted with the factual and objective way in which you reported our research into the roles of classroom assistants (TES, January 31).

What a pity your readers cannot be as objective. Perhaps P A Ward's response (TES, February 21) shows just the kind of reactive approach uncovered by the research.

Far from being "annoyed and upset", your reader, had she indeed read the report, would have found that I suggested that classroom assistants have a valuable role in key stage 1 classes in supporting teachers. Perhaps the fact that they frequently do this in "goodwill" time is not something of which they should necessarily be proud: if the job is a worthwhile one (as I believe it is) then it should be properly recognised and remunerated with training provided.

Busy primary teachers are happy to hand over some of their responsibilities to classroom assistants. But the fact remains that untrained people cannot and should not take the place of trained teachers. Every parent in the country has a right to expect that their child is taught by qualified teachers.

JANET MOYLES Senior lecturer in education University of Leicester Leicester

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