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Sunday, November 27, 2022

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Schools risk losing teachers to higher-paid jobs in supermarkets

Managers struggle to recruit and retain staff, some without interviewees, as candidates realize they can earn more bookshelves. Teachers say budget cuts and salary increases promised to staff – not funded by the government – will leave schools in dire straits.

Many will lay off teaching assistant (TA) roles because inflation and energy costs are forcing people to leave.

This loss will remove support for some of the most vulnerable children.

Education agency Think Teaching says starting salaries for teaching assistants are around £17,000.

The University of Portsmouth’s Education Research, Innovation and Advisory Unit said chronic low pay posed an “imminent threat to the livelihoods and schools of teaching assistants”.

Dr Rob West, co-author of the report, said: “Schools face many challenges, but losing teaching assistants is the most devastating.

“Without these staff, schools will struggle to provide adequate support for children with additional needs. Teachers’ workloads will skyrocket, forcing more people out of the profession and preventing others from joining.

Almost all teaching assistants surveyed by the report said their salaries were insufficient to meet their needs.

Headteachers are now using ‘happiness days’ and more training to entice assistants to stay.

A survey by the NASUWT union found that 54% cut back on grocery shopping, while 40% cut back on spending on household essentials.

One in 10 people take a second job to make ends meet.

The survey of more than 10,000 teachers found that seven in 10 had considered quitting in the past 12 months, with nearly half citing salary as the reason.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the headteachers’ union NAHT, said: “The increase in school energy bills is extreme. Some reports put the increase at more than 300%, the equivalent of several employees.

“Many schools are finding that the only possible measure they can take is to reduce working hours – especially teaching assistants. The government must urgently think about the funding of schools.

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