SCHOOLS: More help in the classroom

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The Independent Online
Rising class sizes and cash shortages are leading schools to employ growing numbers of classroom assistants, researchers said yesterday. Between 1991 and 1994, the numbers of support staff in primary schools rose by 63 per cent to 22,000. Over the same period, the number of qualified primary teachers fell by 1,000.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which commissioned the research, called for improved training for the assistants, but advised teachers to boycott the supervision and training of helpers if the duties meant an unreasonable extension of their workload.

Classroom assistants are adults, often parents, who support primary teachers with tasks such as listening to children read.

Jills Of All Trades?, pounds 5, Leicester University School of Education, Despatch, ATL, 7 Northumberland Street, London WC2N 5DA. Tel: 0171 930 6441. Lucy Ward