Michael Gove’s department is considering getting rid of teaching assistants in schools as a cost-cutting method. The Department for Education are considering getting rid of teaching assistants to save money, regardless of the effect this will have on my students, and students across the country.
Dear Mr Gove As a teacher, my teaching assistants are the most valuable resource I have. They are unbelievably wonderful, and I couldnât do my job without them.
My school is SEN (Special Education Needs) and in my class there are 10 children with an ability split from P4 to NC2. Each term we plan a new topic. I have 4 TAs plus myself. At the start of each new term we brain storm our new topic together. We plan all our activities together so that everyone has ownership of the plans and can see the bigger picture and what we are trying to achieve. My TAs are very creative and provide far better ideas than I can think of to keep my behaviour challenged children on task. Each TA has been specially trained for a certain role according to their talents and interests. And itâs not just in my classroom that these excellent people work. Across the school we have TAs working in all areas. From the 20 TAs who deal with childrenâs bathroom requirements in a sensitive manner that makes sure no child is ever made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, to the very talented TA who, as a gymnast and swimming teacher in her own right was instrumental in helping one of our students to become a Paralympian last year. Hats off to her and her talent!
Most TAs are actually paid very little money. Many earn around £7 an hour for all their work and their qualifications. Fair enough some earn the princely sum of Â£9 an hour but its hardly a vast fortune. I donât know any in my area who earn £17,000 a year as reported in the Daily Mail this month. Therefore they do not do their job for the money. In my school they do it for the special children because they want to improve their lives for them. So there you have it Mr Gove. I urge you to think again before you embark on this mass removal of TAs.