Petition Recognise Teaching Assistants as an important asset to schools by raising wage.
Teaching Assistants are an extremely important part of the running of schools in England, but are not currently recognised as this by our government when reflecting on the wage.
Without Teaching Assistants, schools wouldn't be able to cater to the high number of SEN students. They work hard and are discriminately underpaid for the work they do. A Teaching Assistant's role is demanding, and the workload they face in current times is massive. Duties include, but are not limited to: supporting SEN students (often on a one to one basis), teaching groups of children and sometimes even a whole class to cover teachers, lesson planning, organising extra curricular activities, making sure that every child reaches their full potential. Sadly, as the wage is so low, this is not a job many TA's can afford to keep, and a huge number of highly skilled TA's are being forced to find other jobs. This needs to change.
This response was given on 12 August 2022
Government recognises the importance of teaching assistants. Schools are free to set their pay and most mirror local government pay scales. These are in negotiation due to report in September.
Read the response in full
The government knows the valuable contribution teaching assistants can make to pupils’ education, helping to raise attainment and reduce teachers’ workload. Alongside excellent teachers, they help pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to fulfil their potential in mainstream and specialist schools.
In March, the department published the SEND review green paper that recognised their role and committed to set out how schools can use and train teaching assistants to best advantage in new national standards.
- SEND and AP green paper: responding to the consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-and-ap-green-paper-responding-to-the-consultation
The workforce has increased steadily over the last decade. Last year there were 275,812 (full-time equivalent) teaching assistants in English schools, which represents a 4,400 increase from 2020. This is on top of a 6,000 increase the previous year.
The government’s education reforms gave schools freedom to make their own decisions about budgets. For most staff, including teaching assistants, schools have the freedom to recruit according to their own circumstances and set pay and conditions. All schools have different characteristics and should have the freedom to make decisions.
Teaching assistant pay has increased year-on-year since 2017. Last year’s pay rose by between 1.75 and 2.75 per cent for teaching assistants, which was backdated to April 2021.
The government does not have a role in setting local government pay and there is no national pay body. Instead, most councils take part in collective negotiations. The Local Government Association (LGA) represents the employer, negotiating with the National Joint Council (UNISON, Unite and the GMB) which represent the employee. On 25 July the National Employers offered an increase of £1,925 on all National Joint Council pay points one and above effective from 1 April 2022, which will include most teaching assistants. The unions are currently considering this offer and are expected to consult their members during August and September.
Most follow these pay scales, and some pay more when they can afford to do so.
The government recognises that many people need additional help with rising living costs. Nationally, the government has helped millions of households by raising the threshold at which employees pay National Insurance and introducing a series of measures to help with household bills. More information about the support available can be found via the link:
- Cost of Living Payment: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment
In addition, the department has committed to help schools recruit, train and use their teaching assistants in an update to school resource management guidance. We will work in collaboration with schools and all interested parties to consider how the government can help schools, teachers and teaching assistants. The guidance can be found via the link:
- School resource management: building a stronger system: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-excellent-school-resource-management
Department for Education
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