Are Support Staff Doing Teachers’ Work?
There is some concern that due to staff shortages classroom support staff are starting to do more of work that is supposed to be done by teachers. Support staff are not qualified to undertake the teaching tasks, yet despite this some two-thirds of support workers felt they were treated more like supply teachers.
The government has fallen short of targets for recruiting teachers every year for the last four years. This has led to a severe shortfall in qualified teachers for all ages. In addition to this, the growth in the population means there are more and more school-age children without enough teachers to teach them.
Over 75% of support staff say they work overtime regularly, while only just over 10% actually received payment for their overtime hours. This has led to a dip in morale as support workers feel taken advantage of and undervalued by schools. The worry is that the shortage of teachers and increasing reliance on support staff will mean education standards are falling.
Technology for Reading
Reading and writing are some of the most important skills children need to learn while at school. With a shortage of teachers, it is impossible for teachers and support workers to spend enough time with each child helping them to improve their essential skills. This has led to a growth in useful technology that can help children to read, spell and develop other important skills. Technology is being created by a number of educational companies, such as http://www.mywordbuddy.com/, with the aim of enabling children to develop their reading skills inside and outside the classroom.
This is especially crucial at a time when the Guardian reports that there has been a sharp decline in the number of American children reading for pleasure. Even more worryingly, a BBC report has discovered that many 11-year-olds in Wales leave primary school still unable to read properly.
The growth in technology will enable children to take control of their own learning more effectively. Sophisticated e-books can even point out grammar and spelling issues with a phonetic guide that sounds out the words as they appear on screen. This means that technology will be able to help bridge the temporary teacher shortage gap, helping to improve children’s reading even in schools where there is a staff shortage.