[Mr George Howarth in the Chair] — Teaching Assistants

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:04 am on 18th March 2014.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Labour, Sefton Central 10:04 am, 18th March 2014

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is all about culture. If the people at the top show leadership by saying that teachers should be supported and encouraged, and by making it clear what we think of the people running our public services and those responsible for our children’s education, the rest of the country is likely to follow suit.

This debate, however, is about teaching assistants and the support that they provide to qualified teachers, whom I mention because, as my hon. Friend Mark Hendrick stated, we now have a Government who say that teachers do not have to be qualified. It is worrying that that is now the situation in more than half of secondary schools. The role of teaching assistants is directly linked to that point and I will return to that later in my remarks.

The support that teaching assistants are able to offer, where we see good practice, provides support for teachers, whether helping in small groups or one-to-one situations, working with teachers to plan activities, or doing administrative tasks, or a combination of those, and many other activities.