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Give teaching assistants arts training, says former education secretary.

26/05/2009 Joanna
Teaching assistants should be given training in the arts and cultural support, says former education secretary Estelle Morris.

Writing in the Guardian, Ms Morris notes some schools have been "sidelined" when it came to a new relationship between education and the arts.

A teaching assistant, she says, could help bring the two closer together so schools could see what the cultural sector has to offer.

It could also be possible for a group of schools to jointly fund a part-time teacher tasked with developing these links.

"We're rightly protective of free access to museums and galleries and the free service offered to schools, but if we want to move beyond the termly visit to the local museum we are going to have to be more innovative," she explained.

Education regulations introduced in 2003 allow a suitably trained teaching assistant to lead classes and "enrich the curriculum by extending their pupils' learning beyond the classroom".

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