Special educational needs provision won’t improve unless teaching assistants are valued

TAs must be paid more to deal with shortages

Commenting on the government’s green paper on special educational needs and disability (SEND), UNISON head of education Mike Short said: “The commitments are welcome, but much of this has been said before. What’s needed is proper funding to put these measures into practice.

“Thousands of children are being let down because parents and schools struggle to access the support that’s required in good time.

“To have any hope of improving the system, the government must tackle the huge shortage of teaching assistants and other support staff who barely get a mention in the green paper.

“TAs with appropriate training underpin all schools’ work with pupils who have special educational needs. Unless they’re paid significantly more, recruiting them in sufficient numbers won’t improve any time soon.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.