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Teachers say they are too few in number and fail to reduce teacher workload

Originally Published 24 April 2002

A mass survey for NUT by Dr Sean Neill of the University of Warwick's Institute of Education of teachers' views on the value and sufficiency of teaching assistants teachers shows that teachers welcome the back-up teaching assistants can give in the classroom but massively reject their use as substitute teachers.

Overwhelmingly - 80.5 per cent - teachers saw the benefit of teaching assistants as giving support to pupils. Against a background where the vast majority of teaching assistants were supporting children with special needs or children for whom English is an additional language, this is not surprising.

The survey found that more than one in ten teachers have no access to support from teaching assistants and of those who do, 85 per cent have that support for children with special needs or pupils for whom English is a second language.

Again overwhelmingly - 89.1 per cent ? teachers rejected the use of teaching assistants to cover for teacher absences and shortages and only one in four thought they could be used to supervise work set while the teacher is out of the classroom.

There was majority support - 54.2 per cent - for teaching assistants helping with pastoral work but only 29 per cent agreed with the idea that they should supervise lunchtime activities.

Of the 3,822 teachers taking part in the survey, 38 per cent said teachings assistants increased their workload as a result of more management responsibilities, 24 per cent said there was increased planning, and 22.6 per cent said there was a greater teaching load.

For further please details contact:

Dr Sean Neill, University of Warwick

Tel: 024 76 523836 home 01926 632729

Olive Forsythe NUT tel: 020 7380 4706 (office)

020 8313 1692 (weekday evenings) or mobile 07879 480061