Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Classroom assistants deserve better recognition" >
Letters to the editor should be sent to: 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB. E-mail:

I am a classroom assistant working with children with very challenging behaviour.

I obtained a Higher National Diploma in early childhood studies and paid for it myself.

It is astonishing that, under the new proposals, it will no longer be necessary to have NVQ 3, let alone the qualification that I hold.

Other classroom assistants, like myself, have paid money to gain these qualifications to enable them to get a better rate of pay for the job they do and love.

Along with my colleagues, I have undertaken various training courses, including accreditation by the University of Leicester which we were encouraged to do but were given no recognition for.

In England, classroom assistants - known as teaching assistants - have a career structure. We can't even manage a fair evaluation.

I have been doing my job for six years and have met the most amazing children who have touched my heart and changed me as a person.

At the end of the day, just like teachers, we go home mentally and physically exhausted.

Our jobs are unique and bear no resemblance to non-teaching staff with whom we are being evaluated. Our jobs give us fulfilment and teachers could not do their jobs without our valued help.

Our incentive is the difference we make for the children we work with everyday.

Twelve years is a long time for someone to realise the input, hard work and dedication we contribute.

Charlene McKinnon Belfast

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz