I will press on.
Because of the petition, in recent weeks my mailbox has been packed full of stories from school staff and parents across the Blaydon constituency. Sheena, a teaching assistant—a TA—wrote:
“I love my job! I have worked in a local infant school for 30 years as a teaching assistant. But over the last 3 years we have lost 8 members of staff due to redundancies due to lack of funding. We run our school on a skeleton staff. We are unable to buy resources for the children due to lack of funding (staff sometimes use their own money!). We have just gone through the redundancy process again, losing another TA, which leaves us with 2 TAs in a school with 6 classes (3 classes are Early Years Foundation Stage, which require…a TA…). Does this mean we have to turn children away because of lack of staff? In turn, this means less funding! Teachers without a TA have to leave their ‘teaching’
to see to poorly children, first aid and collecting resources, all because of reduced funding to schools. Not having a TA in every classroom…does have a detrimental effect on our children, especially the slower learners and SEN children.”