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Farron: ‘This is the perfect opportunity for the county council to change track and back our teaching assistants’

May 11, 2011 11:11 AM

Tim Farron MP at Kendal Nursery SchoolSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has today called on the county council to change course over controversial plans to cut the salary of teaching assistants by up to 33%. Tim says that the end of the stage 2 appeals process gives the county council a window of opportunity to re-grade teaching assistants fairly and to honourably admit that they have got it wrong.

Full-time teaching assistants earn between £14,700 and £16,800 a year.

But Cumbria County Council says it has been paying them for 37 hours a week while claiming they 'work only 32.5 hours', and it has 'mistakenly' paid them during school holidays. It is proposing to slash the typical salary to £12,500 to compensate.

Recent Freedom of Information requests have shown that Cumbria is one of the last shire counties to go through the single status review process, and that in most other counties teaching assistants had seen a pay rise not a pay cut. Even in those counties where pay was cut, the cuts were nowhere near as severe as the ones Cumbria is proposing.

Tim has been leading the campaign calling on the county council to re-think their plans. He recently secured a meeting with government ministers asking them to step in and end the affair. Added to this over 1,167 local residents have signed petitions joining the campaign.

Local MP Tim Farron said: "Now the county council is assessing stage two appeals. That means that the council are looking at at least one teaching assistant per school, and this allows them to check whether they have got the overall grade point of teaching assistants right or wrong. This provides the perfect opportunity for the county council to make an honourable change to their plans and pay teaching assistants what they deserve.

"By cutting their pay by up to a third, the council are not recognising the additional effort and hours that our teaching assistants put in to help run our class rooms so well. It is vital that we do not undervalue the contribution our teaching assistants make to ensure that our children receive the highest quality education possible."