View from the floor: What delegates think of the workload agreement

18th April 2003 at 01:00
William Stewart reports from Blackpool at the conference of the third biggest classroom teachers' union

Ann Nash, Thackley primary, Bradford, West Yorkshire: "I think it is a wonderful idea in theory but it is what happens at the grassroots in implementing these things that matters."

Ruth Hanson, a student member, training to be a primary teacher at the University of Central England in Birmingham: "I have met classroom assistants and they are fantastic people but taking a whole class alone is totally different."

Mike Wallis, a supply teacher in the Conway Valley, north Wales: "I think we are on the right track, at least we have the agreement and at least we are talking. I think it shows less direction from the Government and more negotiation."

Roger Lister, geography teacher at Medina high school, Isle of Wight: "The jury is still out. I think the executive was right to sign up to it. But at a branch meeting recently a lot of people were concerned that having higher-level teaching assistants would create more workload."

Christine Mayou, St Joseph's RC junior, Nuneaton, Warwickshire: "The union has fought a long time to ensure that teachers are of a professional standard and I don't want that to be reversed. "I am concerned that the Government is using this to get round a teacher shortage."

Andy Speake, deputy head at Purbeck School, Wareham, Dorset: "A lot of teachers will say: 'It is all very well having assistants but by the time I have prepared and then debriefed them it is actually easier to do it myself.' And I think that if the largest teaching union has refused to sign it then it will be unworkable in practice."

Bob Martyn, a secondary history and English supply teacher from Oxfordshire: "I think it is a sensible way forward. We obviously cannot afford lots more teachers and this is one way of increasing the numbers if there is enough money to fund it."

Hilda Gresham, maths supply teacher at The Giles school, Old Leake, Lincolnshire: "If teaching assistants can bring the necessary control and discipline I have got no problem with them taking over a class to relieve a teacher."

Maureen Boneham, maths teacher at St Thomas More RC school, Nuneaton, Warwickshire: "Teaching assistants are good at what they do. But assistant is the word, they are not going to be able to take classes."

Alan Scarcroft, maths teacher at Glenburn high, Skelmersdale: "I think it is being rushed. Teaching assistants' calibre has got to be carefully scrutinised."

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