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Durham County Council

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Update on teaching assistants review

Published February 24, 2017 12.56pm


In December we began a full review of the role and responsibilities of Durham teaching assistants in partnership with recognised trade unions. Find the latest information updates on this page.

About the review

This review will properly examine aspects of teaching assistant roles, including whether current job descriptions adequately describe the work they do.

During this review we have agreed to suspend the dismissal and re-engagement process. A project team has been set up to lead the review, with input from teaching assistants, headteachers, unions and council officers.

A schedule of meetings has been agreed and a number of meetings have now taken place. We are committed to progressing the review as quickly as possible, considering all of the options available, and updates will be provided as the work progresses.

Everyone wants to ensure that this is a thorough job

John Hewitt our corporate director of resources: "As we promised we are working hard with recognised trade unions to complete the review of the roles, functions, job descriptions and activities of our teaching assistants.

"To undertake this review we have set up a project board together. The board has met regularly since the review commenced and will continue to do so. The board is supported by two work streams, one comprising of 15 teaching assistants, the other of head teachers. Their views are fed into the board to ensure all aspects and perspectives are taken into consideration.

"Everyone wants to ensure that this is a thorough job and we are working hard to ensure the review considers all options for the future, takes all views into consideration and can be completed as quickly as possible."

Updates

February 16 2017

 As you will be aware, the council in partnership with the recognised Trade Unions is undertaking a review of Teaching Assistant roles, functions, job descriptions and activities to establish whether the current job descriptions adequately describe and value the requirements of the role.

The purpose of this briefing is to update you on the progress of the reviews and to keep you informed of the work that is being undertaken.

Project team and workstreams

A project team has been established to lead the review. The project team consists of council officers and recognised trade union representatives and is supported by a Teaching Assistant Workstream and a Head Teacher Workstream.

The Teaching Assistant Workstream is made up of 15 teaching assistants who work across a variety of school settings. This group will consider the range of duties and responsibilities across the variety of teaching assistant roles to ensure this is considered throughout the review.

A Head Teacher Workstream has also been established which will support the project team and ensure the views of head teachers are incorporated as the review progresses.

We are committed to progressing the review as quickly as possible, considering all of the options available including the option for a more simplified structure for teaching assistant roles.

The project team is also looking at examples of flexible working arrangements that are in place across our schools. This work will allow us to consider how flexibility is currently managed in schools and to consider options for managing this in the future.

Whilst the review is being undertaken, a stay on individual regradings will apply and will continue until the review of roles is complete.

Further information

Further information will be shared with teaching assistants as the review develops. The project team is working hard to identify options that can be considered and as soon as we are in a position to share more information, we will do so. Whilst this review is being undertaken jointly between the council and recognised trade unions, please be assured that all teaching assistants will be individually consulted on the outcome.

13 March 2017

Meetings of the project team and project group have taken place throughout February and into March and will continue over the coming weeks. The Teaching Assistant workstreams and the Headteacher workstreams have been meeting very regularly, considering job description, roles and responsibilities to inform the review. It is important that the review fully considers the views of our Teaching Assistants and Headteachers and we are working hard to ensure that this is a thorough job.