Friday, 5 July 2013

TV star backs UNISON’s campaign

UNISON’s campaign to defend teaching assistants has received the high profile backing of Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson supports UNISON's campaign to protect teaching assistants

Ricky Tomlinson joins UNISON's campaign - Photo: Marcus Rose

The actor Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family, Brookside) has joined UNISON's campaign to protect teaching assistants.

Earlier this year, the government asked the teachers review body to look at teachers' contracts, with a view to them taking on duties currently performed by teaching assistants. In the past month, a right wing think tank with close links to the government has also called for teaching assistants to be sacked.

Ricky Tomlinson spoke up to defend their valuable work.

UNISON's assistant national officer in education, Jo Coates said: "It's great to see our campaign being supported by Ricky - we hope it will help raise the profile of the tremendous work being done by teaching assistants.

"As the largest union for support staff in schools, we'll be building a large-scale campaign to show how valuable teaching assistants are to children, parents and schools.

"Teaching assistants have been vital to improving the education of our children and if the government makes serious moves to take them out of classrooms they'll have a fight on our hands."

Mr Tomlinson was photographed today at UNISON's local government conference in Liverpool with ex-teaching assistant Jackie Dean from Leicestershire (pictured right), who said:

"Teaching assistants make a massive difference. They have the time to do things class teachers can't do.

"Children open up more to teaching assistants because of the one-to-one time we spend with them. They can spot when little Jimmy's a bit different today, see when he needs a clean jumper or hasn't had his breakfast.

"With class sizes of 30 they're an invaluable resource and I think most head teachers would agree."

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