Voice: The Union for Education Professionals – which represents teaching assistants and other support staff, teachers and headteachers – has commented on new analysis from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) (Thursday 27 February 2020) examining school expenditure on teaching assistants (Understanding school revenue expenditure Part 5: Expenditure on teaching assistants), calling on the Government to “recognise and value teaching assistants” with professional standards and a national pay and conditions structure.
Voice General Secretary Deborah Lawson said:
“We welcome the report for highlighting both how ‘teaching assistants play a significant role in England’s education system’, and the huge variation in school spending on TAs.
“We agree with the report’s finding – which is supported by other research – that, deployed effectively, TAs can have a positive impact on pupil outcomes. However, they should not be used to ‘substitute rather than supplement a teacher’.
“We know from our own member casework that, sadly, as the analysis concludes, ‘some settings may view reducing teaching assistants as a way of achieving efficiency savings if faced with budget pressures’ – despite their key roles in supporting pupils, especially those with special educational needs.
“Austerity-driven restructuring means skilled, dedicated and expert support staff are being lost to the system. The loss of these key staff places an additional pressure on teachers and increases their workload.
“The Government must increase schools’ budgets so that our valuable support staff are retained and effectively deployed, not exploited.
"Voice is calling on the Government to recognise and value teaching assistants, and commit to professional standards for them, supported by a national pay and conditions structure.”
Education Policy Institute (EPI):