Teaching assistants in Calderdale being ‘exploited’ - Union secretary

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Teaching assistants being used to cover for absent teachers are being ‘exploited’ according the Calderdale’s National Union for Teachers secretary.

A meeting about Government cuts to Calderdale schools was held at Queen’s Road Neighbourhood Centre which was chaired by Councillor Jenny Lynn and was addressed by James Wilson, secretary of Calderdale NUT and Shelagh Hirst, the national president of the ATL.

They spoke about the detrimental effects of funding cuts on schools, both locally and nationally as head teachers in Calderdale were praised by the panel for doing the best job possible in very difficult circumstances.

Mr Wilson said residents spoke passionately about their concerns for the education of local children, particularly their fears at the potential for redundancies of teaching assistants and the effect this would have on pupils whose first language was not English, or who needed extra support with language.

“There were also worries that teaching assistants were being used to cover for absent teachers - this is exploitation.

“These people are not being paid for the role they are carrying out, have not received the training and support that teachers would be entitled to, but will have to take full responsibility if something goes wrong.”

People at the meeting signed a petition calling for the Chancellor to increase school funding and resolved to spread the details of school cuts to their friends and family and on social media using the schoolcuts.org.uk website.