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School under fire for using untrained teaching staff'

PUBLISHED: 17:35 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 12 August 2010

A PARENT has slammed a school for using unqualified classroom assistants to take lessons instead of supply teachers. The parent from Bromley, who did not want to be identified, criticised St Anthony s Roman Catholic Primary School in Genoa Road, Anerley,

A PARENT has slammed a school for using unqualified classroom assistants to take lessons instead of supply teachers.

The parent from Bromley, who did not want to be identified, criticised St Anthony's Roman Catholic Primary School in Genoa Road, Anerley, for using a classroom assistant to teach a class for a week.

The mother said she is "concerned that staff without the necessary training and experience could educate her children".

She added: "Some of these personnel have had further training but do not have degrees or post-graduate educational qualifications.

"I can understand a morning or afternoon class being covered in certain circumstances, but longer periods are cause for concern."

However, the deputy head at the voluntary aided school, Lorna White, said the teaching assistant was qualified to take the class.

She added: "At the end of the term before Christmas a teacher was sick and a decision was made - because the children were at carolling practise every afternoon - that it would be better to have someone who knew them rather than a supply teacher.

"It was a cover assistant who had planning, preparation and assessment training (PPA). Every teacher must have that qualification as it is the law.

"A cover assistant is qualified to cover a class and doesn't plan the work. They manage the class with support from the rest of the staff in the school.

"They were qualified to do so."

Mrs White denies using teaching assistants because they are cheaper.

She said: "The children behave much better and respond much better to somebody they know.

"It worked out very well."

A spokesman for Bromley council said: "Schools are responsible for making their own arrangements on the deployment of staff within the school with regard to statutory requirements and national guidance.

"Teachers may not be available to teach their class for a variety of reasons - from sickness to planning preparation and assessment (PPA) time."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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