Teaching assistants (TAs) and classroom assistants (CAs) carry out a huge variety of tasks, working with teachers to help our children learn and develop to be the best they can be.
They provide one-to-one support for children who need additional help, which cannot always be provided by a teacher delivering a lesson to a full class. With the right training, they even deliver lessons to whole classes under the direction of a qualified teacher.
TAs adapt resources for disabled students and support children with special health, medical and learning needs. They supervise classes for absent teachers, manage other classroom support staff and prepare learning materials. They support pupils’ social and emotional wellbeing; and monitor, assess and record pupil data, working with outside agencies when necessary.
TAs also supervise children on out-of-school activities, run breakfast and after-school clubs, invigilate exams and supervise lunch and play times.
Imagine a School Without Teaching and Classroom Assistants.
Yet the role of teaching assistants and classroom assistants is being undermined. Earlier this year, it was reported that the government asked the teachers review body to look at teachers' contracts - with a view to them taking on duties currently performed by teaching assistants. Recently, an influential think tank report questioned the value of teaching assistants.
To find out just how important TAs are to our schools, UNISON spoke to staff at Pakeman Primary School. Watch the video here, and see what they had to say.