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Umbrella workers can ease rising teacher burden

Teaching assistants who work as umbrella company contractors can play a valuable role in helping to ease some of the growing burden that teachers in the UK are facing.

According to research carried out by Randstad, 76 per cent of the country's primary school teachers regularly work more than their contracted hours, as they cannot cope with their workload.

One in ten teachers revealed that they do three hours or more of additional work that they aren't paid for each day, demonstrating just how valuable an extra pair of hands in the form of a short-term teaching assistant could be.

The survey results also led to the discovery that 42 per cent of primary school teachers put in extra hours when they are meant to be on holiday, 16 per cent work at weekends and 72 per cent even try to go in when they are unwell.

However, when teaching assistants are in the picture, this doesn't have to be the case, as they can help to ease the growing level of pressure that teachers are under, alongside helping to make sure that students are getting the highest level of support available.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, commented: "Teachers always feel under pressure to get into work. They want the children to keep learning. They want to keep routines established.

"Also, they know that pupils rely on them, especially vulnerable pupils. Schools might be one of the few places where these pupils have security and stability. But teachers pay the price when they stop - you often find that you get to the end of the half-term and then you collapse."

This is where teaching assistants can add significant value to both teachers and pupils. Those that are based in classes with students for a contract lasting several months are able to build relationships with children and take some of the burden of planning lessons away from the teacher.

Teaching assistants who work on a contract basis can also provide some familiarity to pupils when their usual teacher is off ill, making the transition to a supply teacher seem less unsettling.

In fact, it is more likely to be the teaching assistants themselves who have to deal with more jarring transitions when they move to new schools depending on the contracts they are offered.

However, working through an umbrella company means that teaching assistants can have just one employer despite working at a number of different schools over a short-term period, providing them with a greater sense of stability.


Image: omgimages via iStock

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