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GOVERNMENT CALLS ON TEACHING ASSISTANTS TO HELP FORGE A WORLD CLASS EDUCATION SERVICE

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Education and skills secretary Estelle Morris has reaffirmed her ...
Education and skills secretary Estelle Morris has reaffirmed her

commitment to remodelling the school workforce.

Speaking at a Unison symposium on 'Building a World Class Education

Service', she called on education support staff to help create a

modern workforce that will transform primary and secondary education.

Paying tribute to the tremendous contribution that teaching

assistants have already made, she outlined her vision of the future

where there would be more job opportunities, scope for development

and career progression.

Estelle Morris said yesterday:

'Schools, like all organisations, must value their staff and develop

their full potential. They cannot replace teachers and there is no

wish for them to do so. But teaching assistants have a vital role to

play in our classrooms and should be encouraged to contribute as

fully as they can. Developing the role of support staff is good for

everyone in education. It will provide teachers with better support,

allowing them to concentrate on teaching and will give teaching

assistants the recognition they deserve.

'As aspirations for young people rise so do demands on schools and

the school workforce. This brings challenges and opportunities for

staff at all levels in schools. I want to create an environment where

greater use is made of all resources and pupils are giving the chance

to learn at their own speed. Teaching assistants will be crucial in

meeting this challenge and I call on all schools and local

authorities to recognise this.'

New development opportunities for support staff include foundation

degrees specifically created for teaching assistants. New

occupational standards are also in place for teaching assistants and

dedicated NVQs will be available later in the year. 12 local pilot

projects are also developing routes into teaching for teaching

assistants.

NOTES

This Press Notice applies to England.

1. The Universities of Hull, Leicester and Lancaster are all leading

consortia which are delivering DfES prototype Foundation Degrees for

teaching assistants and Pre-16 learning and support staff.

2. Pilot research projects to develop local provision for teaching

assistants to reach qualified teacher status are currently being

undertake at:

University of Central England in Birmingham

SWIFT Partnership

Lancashire LEA

East Midlands Consortium

University of Hull

Sheffield Hallam University

Oxford Brookes University

Kingston University

University of Northumbria

Knowsley LEA/Liverpool John Moores University

University College Northampton

University of Sussex

3. A working party has been established to help remodel schools. It

will look at the development of new career structures and ladders for

support staff, as a vital force in our schools, helping to raise

standards. It will also explore further how else schools can be

remodelled to allow teachers to spend more time concentrating on

teaching, but with time for high quality lesson preparation and

marking.

4. Estelle Morris outlined her vision of the school of the future at

the Social Market Foundation, where she launched a document

Professionalism and Trust - The Future of Teachers and Teaching.

Copies are available for press from the Social Market Foundation

(020 7222 7060 or info@smf.co.uk).

5. On 4 January, the secretary of state announced that the government

will fund 30 'Pathfinder' schools with up to£4m to explore

solutions to tackle excessive workload and pioneer reforms. The

lessons learnt from these pioneering schools will be shared across

the country. The package will include additional support staff, with

at least one new member of staff for primary schools and about four

for the average secondary school, and training opportunities

including induction for new support staff and teaching assistants as

well as skills-based training in their new role.

6.£750m has been made available to local education authorities

between 1999- 2004 to recruit and train new teaching assistants.

The government has recruited 25,000 additional teaching assistants,

a large proportion of whom have been offered induction training. The

total number of support staff has risen to 190,000 - an increase of

52,000 since 1997.

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