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Classroom assistants deserve better recognition

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

Belfast Telegraph


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