Actor Ricky Tomlinson has joined UNISON’s campaign to protect teaching assistants.
Education secretary Michael Gove has plans to phase out teaching assistants as part of his overhaul of working practices in schools.
Ricky Tomlinson spoke up to defend their valuable work.
Mr Tomlinson was photographed today at UNISON’s local government conference in Liverpool with ex-teaching assistant Jackie Dean from Leicestershire (pictured right), who said: “Teaching assistants make a massive difference. They have the time to do things class teachers can’t do.
“Children open up more to teaching assistants because of the one-to-one time we spend with them. They can spot when little Jimmy’s a bit different today, see when he needs a clean jumper or hasn’t had his breakfast.
“For Mr Gove to say they don’t make a difference – well maybe they don’t if you’re at a school that can afford to have a class size of ten.
“But with class sizes of 30 they’re an invaluable resource and I think most head teachers would agree.”