UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Yes to Teaching Assistants, No to Classroom Volunteers

Teaching Assistants have come a long way since 2001 when the General Secretary of the NASUWT teachers union referred to them as ‘pig ignorant peasants.’ Not in pay terms, where they remain an under paid and often exploited workgroup, but in the education profession there is widespread recognition of the value of their role. In a recent UNISON survey ‘all but a few of the respondents justified their use of TA's and some said that they could not run their school without them.’

Within 6 months of coming to power Michael Gove told the Commons he was abolishing the School Support Staff Negotiating Body because it "did not fit well with the government's priorities for greater deregulation". Now the right wing pressure group Reform is lobbying for over 200,000 teaching assistant’s jobs to be axed. This is a precursor to the introduction of volunteer aides into classrooms – a convergence of the Big Society and cost cutting deregulation. UNISON must campaign hard to defend this workgroup.