Teachers may replace assistants in move to improve pupils' progress
A PRIMARY school is hoping to boost achievement by getting rid of its teaching assistants and replacing them with teachers.
">Grampian Primary School wants to employ two teachers in every classroom.
But Unison has warned that children will miss out on valuable support and has lodged a formal grievance on behalf of the teaching assistants at the school.
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The union claims that the teaching assistants are not being made redundant genuinely because the Sinfin school does not need to cut staff because of financial problems.
Branch secretary Gloria Glasby said: "To replace those made redundant with teaching staff will automatically trigger claims from us for unfair dismissal to our members."
Mrs Glasby said teaching assistants offered the extra support to those children in most need.
She said: "By withdrawing this support, these children will not maintain standards set and may not achieve their potential.
"This reactionary and misguided approach to the education of some of our most vulnerable children is unsound and unprecedented.
"We will not accept these proposals and will take action to halt the process."
Head teacher Chris Perkins defended the Grampian Way school's plans and said they were being drawn up to improve pupils' progress in literacy and numeracy.
He said: "The governing body is currently consulting on a staffing restructure proposal.
"The proposal is also intended to increase pupils' enjoyment of school and to improve their thinking, problem solving and independent learning skills.
"This would be achieved by employing two teachers in every class and would envisage significant reduction in the school's support staff in order to finance the new staffing model.
"At this point in time, consultation is still ongoing and no final decisions have been taken."
The school has already been trialling the use of two teachers in the classroom and it claims that pupil progress is "significantly more rapid" in classes where two teachers have been teaching together.
Mr Perkins said: "Using two teachers means we can have more one-to-one tuition in the afternoons, consolidating what has been taught by both of them in the morning."
Teaching unions were against the creation of 20,000 teaching assistants announced by the former labour Government in 1999.
They worried that they would be employed to take the place of teachers and would provide a cheap alternative in the classroom.
Dave Wilkinson, Derby branch secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "I would regret the redundancy of any school employees, but our priority has to be to safeguard the jobs of teachers."