Teachers are taking support roles to lessen workload

Staff with QTS are applying for classroom assistant jobs at far lower rates of pay in order to ‘have a life’

Qualified teachers are choosing to take huge pay cuts and work as classroom assistants rather than contend with the vast workload expected of them, TES has learned.

Some student teachers working in support or cover supervisor roles have also been turned off teaching by the idea of spending every evening with piles of marking or planning.

One school reported a teaching assistant (TA) post attracting dozens of applicants, with about half coming from qualified teachers or candidates who had undertaken a teacher training course.

‘Policy tsunami’

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, blamed the workload pressures on a “policy tsunami”.

“[Teachers] want to stay in the classroom and work with students, but they simply cannot deal with the workload any longer,” Dr Bousted said. “The fact that graduates who have decided to teach are prepared to be paid a fraction of the wage they earn as teachers, shows the level of overwork.

“If you want to solve the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, you have to deal with this. To be fair, I think [the government] understands that.

“But on another level, we have a government that went pell-mell into curriculum change, qualification change and has a policy tsunami that increases workload and then says: ‘What are we going to do about it?’ Until they deal with that conundrum, we are in trouble.”

Sue Wilcock, a former supply teacher who now works as a higher-level teaching assistant at a primary in Wigan, explained her decision to take the more junior classroom role: “There is a lot less pressure. I plan lessons, I support teachers, I do interventions, but I start work at 8.30am and finish at 3.50pm. At weekends, I have a life. When a teaching job came up, I didn’t think it was worth the cost to my family life, so I didn’t apply. I wouldn’t go back to a teaching post now.”

This is an edited article from the 15 July edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week’s TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInGoogle GmailShare