Using support staff is ‘teaching on the cheap’

Support staff Trade unions
Schools have been accused of using teaching assistants and cover supervisors to teach children on a regular basis rather than employing qualified teachers.

A study by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) involving more than 1,435 support staff in state-funded UK schools found that 32 per cent of them said they cover lessons for absent teachers. This included a quarter of the teaching assistants who responded.

Of the 400-plus who stand in for the regular class teacher when they are off sick or on a training course, 60 per cent said they undertook the same work as fully qualified teachers.

More than 70 per cent of support staff said they delivered lessons when they supervised a class, while two-thirds said they have to prepare work for the children to do. A fifth of the support staff said they covered more lessons during the last school year (2012/13) than the year before.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here