Dramatic variations in teaching assistants' salaries have been revealed by Unison research.
Results of a study commissioned by the union show pay for teaching assistants varies between£7,000 in South Tyneside to almost£18,000 in South Gloucestershire.
Major disparities in holiday pay were noted. Over 40% of schools did not pay teaching assistants during holidays. The report estimates the percentage of assistants not receiving holiday pay could be as high as 80%.
Christina McAnea, senior national education officer said: 'This survey demonstrates teaching assistants are on appalling rates of pay, even though their work is vital.'
The survey analysed responses from 49 councils and more than 900 schools.