Durham County Council offers improved TA package

Durham County Council has offered a two-year compensation package to teaching assistants (TAs), following a row surrounding its plan to pay the region’s 2,700 TAs for 39 weeks instead of 52.

Unions are expected to ballot members on the offer, with the result of the vote expected to be released no later than 29 September.

The news comes after 4,000 TAs at 70 schools in Derby were put on term-time only contracts in June, with the council maintaining that tight budgets meant there was no other alternative.

Jane Brown, Durham County Council cabinet member for corporate services, said: "This review of our teaching assistants' terms and conditions has been a hugely difficult process but one that we had a legal responsibility to deal with.

"This brings us in line with the majority of other councils who have already addressed this issue.

"The simple facts are that continuing with the existing terms and conditions is not possible due to the significant inequality and the associated financial risks of equal pay claims from other council staff.

"I sincerely hope that the outcome of the ballot is to accept and that affected staff will see a delay in the impact of these changes by a further 15 months, meaning that the vast majority of teaching assistants should see no reduction in earnings until April 2019."