A survey carried out in the Winter of 2016 of ATL members who work as support staff in state funded and academy schools in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man yielded 988 responses.
The key messages from these respondents revealed that increasing numbers of support staff are having to teach lessons and cover for class teachers, but are not usually financially rewarded for this additional work.
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of ATL, is reported to have said: “As these results show, support staff are feeling the pressure to actually teach lessons and to plug the gap in staff shortages when teachers leave and do not get replaced. As the Government continues to squeeze school budgets, there simply aren’t enough funds to replace staff.”
Despite this overall trend, 71.1% of respondents did say that they were not expected to carry out the full range of duties of a teacher, while 28.9% felt that they were, despite being paid at support staff rate.
While these findings appear to mirror what is being reported by schools and staff across the country, it must be acknowledged that only support staff who are members of the Association for Teachers and Lecturers were surveyed.
A government spokesperson quote by Schools Week, said that teaching assistants should not be used to replace teachers: “Teaching assistants are allowed to teach classes but we are absolutely clear that schools should use them to add value to what teachers do, not replace them. It is up to individual schools to decide how to train, develop and use their teaching assistants effectively.”
As HLTAs, support staff and their colleagues in the East Midlands, please do add your own views of this subject – something that you are experiencing day to day -by adding a reply.