Colin Harris writes in Tes about the way teaching assistants are increasingly being relied upon in schools to fill the gaps in resources as the education system faces the dual pressures of funding cuts and the recruitment crisis. ‘We now have more than 380,000 teaching assistants in our schools, a staggering number when you consider that in the year 2000 we had 79,000: nearly a fourfold increase. In fact, I am that old when I could remember a time when in our school of nearly 400 children we had just three. Teaching assistants are the backbone and heartbeat of every school in the UK. However, what is now expected of them is far beyond the "role profile" each of them signed. A recent study of their role in schools showed that more than a third took over the place of the teacher when absent, many for a considerable length of time. And all interviewed felt they taught more this year than last year. It is fair to say that too many schools have used TAs as a cheap and easy way to solve budget and recruitment problems.’ https://www.tes.com/news/school-new...laster-holding-schools-together-army-teaching Do you agree with Colin, are teaching assistants being used as a cheap way to solve budget and recruitment problems?