To: Michael Gove. Sec of State for Education

Say no to removal of Teaching Assistants

18/4/14: After Michael Gove's suggestion that Teaching Assistants would be cut as part of a cost saving exercise, tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members showed their outrage by signing this petition. The subsequent Minister for Education (Liz Truss) ruled out any possibility of cuts to Teaching Assistants:

Say no to removal of Teaching Assistants

Dear Mr Gove. Please do not slash schools budgets and force the wholesale removal of TAs in school. Teachers, TAs, all stakeholders and the general public feel strongly that this will harm the well being and education of many of our children.

Why is this important?

Michael Gove’s department is considering getting rid of teaching assistants in schools as a cost-cutting method. The Department for Education are considering getting rid of teaching assistants to save money, regardless of the effect this will have on my students, and students across the country.

Dear Mr Gove

As a teacher, my teaching assistants are the most valuable resource I have. They are unbelievably wonderful, and I couldn’t do my job without them.

My school is SEN (Special Education Needs) and in my class there are 10 children with an ability split from P4 to NC2. Each term we plan a new topic. I have 4 TAs plus myself. At the start of each new term we brain storm our new topic together. We plan all our activities together so that everyone has ownership of the plans and can see the bigger picture and what we are trying to achieve. My TAs are very creative and provide far better ideas than I can think of to keep my behaviour challenged children on task.

Each TA has been specially trained for a certain role according to their talents and interests. And it’s not just in my classroom that these excellent people work. Across the school we have TAs working in all areas. From the 20 TAs who deal with children’s bathroom requirements in a sensitive manner that makes sure no child is ever made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, to the very talented TA who, as a gymnast and swimming teacher in her own right was instrumental in helping one of our students to become a Paralympian last year. Hats off to her and her talent!

Most TAs are actually paid very little money. Many earn around £7 an hour for all their work and their qualifications. Fair enough some earn the princely sum of £9 an hour but its hardly a vast fortune. I don’t know any in my area who earn £17,000 a year as reported in the Daily Mail this month. Therefore they do not do their job for the money. In my school they do it for the special children because they want to improve their lives for them.

So there you have it Mr Gove. I urge you to think again before you embark on this mass removal of TAs. My school cannot run without them and I for one am hugely indebted to them.

For a fuller account of the various TAs at my school, please see my blog post, which had over 60, 000 views in the first 4 days of posting alone.

More information about the issue can be found here:


Reasons for signing

  • Dear mr gove I believe that if you get rid of teaching support staff you are making a big mistake I have autism and when at high school I always relied on them for help at early 40 I thank them for helping me they are a rock to the education system so I say no they are needed for special needs children
  • My son is a TA and works on a one to one with children that would otherwise be unable to access the mainstream education system. The cost of his wage is only a very small proportion of the cost that would arise if the children he has cared for and the child he is caring for did not have this support. He also is the sole provider of music education and supports the teaching staff in many other ways that enable them to do their job better.
  • Without a TA my 7yo son would have been excluded from his mainstream school. She calms him down allowing him to rejoin the class constructively. He would still be illiterate and bottom of his class academically, instead he's now in the top groups. She develops his gross/fine motor skills and, as the one who works with him closely, flags up any concerns to the relevant dept thereby gaining him the help he so desperately needs. She is invaluable to him and the class


2016-08-25 17:34:43 +0100
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Petition is successful with 177,088 signatures

2016-06-30 16:27:11 +0100
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Petition is successful with 177,089 signatures

2016-04-15 06:00:30 +0100
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Petition is successful with 177,090 signatures

2016-03-19 11:16:00 +0000
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Petition is successful with 177,091 signatures

2015-12-17 18:52:12 +0000
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Petition is successful with 177,092 signatures

2015-05-11 14:43:52 +0100
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Petition is successful with 177,067 signatures

2015-05-09 19:32:36 +0100

150,000 signatures reached

2013-11-30 07:34:02 +0000

100,000 signatures reached

2013-06-16 11:49:48 +0100

50000 signatures reached