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Training is not the only answer

The arrival of a new breed of teaching assistants in classrooms is surely to be welcomed by teachers, but the emphasis of Ralph Tabberer, chief executive of the Teacher Training Agency, on training initiatives (TES, April 2) will not go far enough to raise standards.

Teaching assistants, no matter how well trained, will be most effective when they work in partnership with teachers. These partnerships are especially difficult to establish in secondary schools where a subject teacher may see a number of different assistants during the course of a week, with no time to discuss methods and strategies or plan collaboratively.

What is required is more thought to the deployment of support staff and the capacity to build partnerships for effective teaching and learning.

Paul Douglas Assistant headteacher (teaching and learning) 57 Blenheim Crescent Luton, Bedfordshire

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