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Classroom support in Highland primary schools (02/03/12)
The Highland Council has confirmed the recommendations of a Cross-Party Working Group, which are aimed at providing better support in the classroom for pupils and teaching staff.
It has agreed the establishment of a single post of Pupil Support Assistant, graded at two distinct salary levels to reflect the difference in general support required by the majority of pupils and the specific support required by pupils with significant levels of need.
This new position combines the roles and responsibilities of Learning Support Assistants and Classroom Assistants.
The Council also agreed that the working group is to continue in operation and given an expanded remit to review the arrangements for the allocation of the Area Additional Support Needs budgets.
At an earlier Council meeting, the Council approved an injection of £650,000 into classroom support to pave the way for the enhanced level of service.
Supported by a task force comprising teachers, parent-council representatives and the trade unions, the Working Group identified overlaps between the roles of Classroom Assistants and Learning Support Assistants. The task force will continue to provide advice and support to the working group.
Councillor Drew Millar, Chairman of the Working Group, said: “The new post of Pupil Support Assistant will provide a more flexible approach to assisting teachers and supporting pupils and will be better paid. The work of the Task Group and Cross Party Working Group has identified historic disparities in the allocation of the Area Additional Support Needs budgets and we will work together to establish a transparent needs-driven allocation model.”
The Council spends £23 million per year on meeting pupil needs.