Letter: Para-training

October 12, 2001

In debates about foundation degrees and the government's desire to foster them (Analysis, THES , September 28), teaching assistants are a particularly good group to consider.

The government also needs to think about other longer-term goals that might be served by training teaching assistants. Until there is clear career progression and salary structure, it is difficult to know what providers should offer by way of training. It is even more difficult for teaching assistants to judge what is the most appropriate course.

When considering whether to offer a foundation degree or diploma of higher education, we felt that in the absence of clarity about the government's intentions for "para-educators" and a lack of currency for foundation degrees, it was appropriate to offer the sub-degree route. This structure allows for accreditation of prior learning and part-time study, and there is a significant work-related element. Other providers have had a similar response from this client group - a thirst for further training.

Barry Miller
Head of teacher education
Bradford College

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