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Teaching assistants

She’s not
qualified to
teach me
For pupils with autism and
learning disabilities,
struggling with limited life
chances, school can be their
only hope. But there’s
growing evidence that some
of the most vulnerable Aim higher: (NEU), says these arrangements
Alison Worsley, can undermine inclusion. Pupils in
pupils are being left in left, of charity units in mainstream schools can
Ambitious spend their “entire day” with
classes run by people who about Autism, assistants, he says.
He adds: “That’s not inclusive
are not qualified to teach.
says children
with autism education, but it goes under the

Darren Devine reports

need an guise of intervention and
education that support.” He maintains that
“enables them assistants should instead be
to learn, thrive acting as “facilitators” to help
and achieve”. pupils access the curriculum, not
They are the cheap fix, costing than employing a supply teacher. Not all as union officer says the ATL is “exploited” when they are working Above: Matthew replacements for the teacher.
our weakest students dear. He says the trend is impacting it seems: looking at measures it can take to as teachers for lower pay, while Children with Fusco was
Evidence is growing that cash- everyone in education, including competent- challenge the trend, including the pupils are taught by unqualified offered only Budgetary pressures
strapped head teachers are turning the most vulnerable pupils, who looking possibility of legal action. staff and supply teachers miss
special needs the support Easterlow says assistants doing
to unqualified classroom support need input from qualified staff. classroom “Children with special needs out on opportunities. need particular of a teaching the work of teachers goes on in
staff to fill in for teachers, say assistants may need particular specialist support assistant when “every class”, in “every setting”,
teaching union leaders. Unqualified staff be in charge and often they are not getting it,” Full range of duties specialist support he was left including with pupils studying
When school budgets are under England has around 13,000 local of teaching, he says. In February 2017 a survey of and often they are at home after for GCSEs.
pressure, head teachers all too authority-run schools. The ATL but they are Morris says using cover almost 1,000 support staff being involved In 2010, 18 per cent of pupils
often turn to a classroom assistant says by law these must use unqualified and supervisors, whose role is members of the ATL found more
not getting it” in a fight at were recognised as having
to cover for a qualified teacher, qualified staff. However, there are pupils are likely supposed to be limited to ensuring than one in four (29 per cent) said Liverpool special educational needs (SEN),
it’s claimed. around 7,000 or so independent to lose out pupils remain on task, in place of they were expected to carry out autism or learning disabilities and Progressive but by 2017 this had fallen to 11
Peter Morris, a national officer academies with freedom to use as a result teachers “has got to be a the full range of duties of a teacher. class teachers. School, says per cent, Easterlow says.
for support staff with the unqualified staff. weakening of education standards”. Also, some fear arrangements Graham Easterlow, lead mum Sharon He believes the reduction has
Association of Teachers and Council-run state schools that Using support staff means within special needs units in member for special educational come about because of
Lecturers (ATL), says this turn to classroom assistants are “everyone loses”, says Morris. mainstream settings minimise needs and disabilities (SEND) with budgetary pressures. Schools
represents a much cheaper option breaking the law, Morris says. The Classroom assistants are interaction between pupils with the National Education Union and councils have been putting

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Teaching assistants

A charmingly geeky book that gives parents and

autistic spectrum kids a great way to connect
Available now from Amazon
and all good bookshops.

ADD 1> 2018 only ADD 2> 2018

Treatment and Education of
Autistic and related Communica-
money at the “centre of the First-hand Ambitious about Autism, says tion handicapped CHildren
system”, he says. A survey of experience: children with autism deserve an
Sharon Fusco says 15-year-old
almost 1,000 Nikola education that “enables them to Introduction & Application to the 2 & 3 DAY TRAINING COURSE
son Matthew was left at home in Matulewicz- learn, thrive and achieve”. She SCERTS Model;
Southport, Merseyside, after he support staff … found Evans, above says support staff and teachers June 2 DAY 25-26. 2018 £287
was involved in a fight at Liverpool
more than one in left with son should receive “autism training”. 2 & 3 DAY TRAINING COURSE January 3 DAY TBA 2019 £TBA
Progressive School. She says the Luca, has
independent special school initially four said they were worked as a Rated as ‘outstanding’ June 3 DAY 27-29. 2018 £355 ———————

127 mm
only offered support at home from
expected to carry classroom A spokesperson for Liverpool January 2 DAY TBA. 2019 £TBA Course Led by
a teaching assistant. assistant Progressive School stresses that
Prof. Gary Mesibov Div. TEACCH

Full-time carer Fusco says this out the full range of and says the Ofsted has rated the school as Using the SCERTS curriculum & practice
was inadequate for Matthew, who
has autism, pathological demand
duties of a teacher” training was
“really poor”.
‘outstanding’. “Our children have a
range of specific and complex
principles to design programming for These trainings are most appropriate for:
avoidance and dyspraxia. She says Above right: needs and our staff differing skills, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Educators, therapists, administrators,
the school later emailed her with a
possible offer of qualified staff.
worked as a classroom assistant
and says the training offered is
Peter Morris, of
the Association
all of which are vitally important to
supporting children to achieve Course Led by paraprofessionals, & families
“really poor”. of Teachers excellent progress in their learning Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP Director. AM/PM refreshments & light lunch.
Training is ‘really poor’ Matulewicz-Evans, 47, from and Lecturers, and personal development,” adds This training is appropriate for: Educators, thera-
Fusco says the special school Chesterfield in Derbyshire, says says heads the spokesperson. pists, administrators, paraprofessionals, & families Office-199-203 Blandford Ave.
offers only a “limited number of classroom assistants cannot offer often turn to The Department for Education AM/PM refreshments, light lunch.
group situations handled by a the expertise of a tutor. Also, when classroom says classroom assistants can only
Kettering, Northants. NN16 9AT.
teacher”. For the remainder, she assistants take on the role of the assistants as teach at the discretion of heads
Office 199-203 Blandford Ave. Kettering, Tel./Fax: 01536 523274
says her son works out of a “base teacher it often means pupils with a cheap, quick and when supervised by a Northants. NN16 9AT.
room” where he is “essentially autism and learning disabilities fix to replace qualified teacher. A spokesperson Tel./Fax: 01536 523274
supervised by a teaching assistant”. who relied on them for extra help teachers says: “This should, however, Book on-line:
Carer Nikola Matulewicz-Evans, miss out. meet statutory regulations and Book on-line:
whose 12-year-old son Luca has Alison Worsley, director of support staff cannot be used to
‘high-functioning’ autism, has external affairs at charity replace teachers.”

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Asperger Syndrome, ASD
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