Helpers to replace teachers in huge schools shake-up

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The Independent Online

Teaching assistants could take over running classes under the biggest shake-up of the education profession in more than a century.

Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, will outline her plans tomorrow, hours before all six teachers' unions receive the draft of a government-backed investigation into their workload. Ms Morris' plans include allowing assistants to take control of classes if work has been set for pupils enabling teachers to concentrate on marking and preparation.

In addition, she will make it clear the new army of helpers means many teachers' "duties" – such as photocopying, collecting dinner money and even washing paint pots after art lessons – would be banished from their job specification for ever.

Giving teachers more time out of the classroom for lesson preparation is a key recommendation of the investigation carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the management consultants.

A senior official at the Department for Education and Skills said: "If a Victorian teacher came down to earth today and visited a classroom, it would bear a reasonable resemblance to what they remembered. In 10 years' time it will all look different. The 'Please, Sir' era of learning is over. It will be much more about individualised learning for each child."

Teachers' leaders are likely to give a cautious welcome to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report when it is published tomorrow – although it does not support their demand for a 35-hour week.

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