'The NUT will not sign the agreement because it allows non-qualified people to take whole classes without the presence of a qualified teacher. That is a matter of principle.
'The government's desire to allow non-qualified people to take over whole class teaching is in the interests of neither.
'Classroom assistants and other support staff provide enormous help to teachers and pupils. Like teachers, however, in many schools round the country their jobs are being wiped out or are under threat because of the shortfall in funding this year. That shortfall puts in jeopardy even those parts of the agreement which do not involve non-qualified people taking whole classes.
'Unless the Treasury releases additional funding to make up that shortfall, the problem will be exacerbated next year and in following years. Schools are already under severe strain and that position will not improve unless the Treasury acts.'
* see LGCnetfor a statement from Charles Clarke following today's conference.