Sheffield primary school to become first in country to get rid of all its teaching assistants, unions claim

Hatfield Academy, on Hatfield House Lane, Sheffield
Hatfield Academy, on Hatfield House Lane, Sheffield
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A primary school in Sheffield could become the first school in the country to get rid of all its teaching assistants, unions have claimed.

Hatfield Academy, in Firth Park, is undergoing a staffing restructure and teaching unions claim part of the plan includes getting rid of its nine teaching assistants - and then employing six unqualified teachers.

Unison has written to Astrea Academy, which runs the school on Hatfield House Lane, saying that deleting the TA posts will have a 'significant and detrimental impact on teaching and learning'.

It said it was not aware of any other school in the country which had deleted all its TA posts.

The Sheffield branch of the National Union of Teachers said it was aware of the proposals and is 'completely opposed to such short-sighted measures'.

Simon Murch, joint division secretary of Sheffield NUT, said: "Their proposal is to get rid of all teaching assistants. This is apparently to save money.

"The intention is then to employ six fellows (unqualified teachers) to be responsible for subject areas like maths and English.

"On the face of it this would have no positive financial value. Certainly as far as teaching and learning is concerned the impact on pupils will be detrimental and the NUT is completely opposed to such short-sighted measures.

Astrea Academy Trust said that while the school was undergoing a restructure, the unions' claims are 'entirely inaccurate'.

A trust spokesman said: “Whilst it is true that Hatfield is undergoing a restructure, the claims that are being made are entirely inaccurate.

"The consultation is still under way, and we have engaged in considerable detail with members of staff who are will potentially be affected, as well as their union representatives.

"In fact each member of staff has to date been met with on two separate occasions to establish suitable alternative roles throughout the trust via redeployment.

"Others have made it clear that they wish to leave the academy through voluntary redundancy.

“We are aware that our teaching assistants have written to their unions to confirm they are happy with the support we have been giving them throughout the process.

"It is both surprising and disappointing that Unison have decided to take this position, particularly so when discussions at a national level between trades unions and Astrea have been so positive and productive. We will, of course, continue to engage with them in an open and transparent manner."