There are many unsung heroes in this year-long Covid crisis, and many people have given their time freely.

One group of heroes that I would like to nominate for a special mention are the Teaching Assistants (TA) in our schools.

My daughter has been a TA in a Dorset school for 15 years and it is without question one of the hardest jobs there is. We hear a lot about teachers, but most schools would not be able to function without TAs and their pay is awful. They suffer abuse and rudeness from both pupils and parents on a daily basis.

They have been working throughout this pandemic with very little support or thanks from the parents or the authorities.

Their job descriptions do not cater for being sworn at by a child at 8.30 in the morning, which often sets the tone for the rest of the day. Parents expect their children to be taught manners at school and even to eat with a knife and fork, things that they are supposed to do themselves.

This all has to be done by the TAs as well as trying to teach their children to read and write.

During this lockdown many schools have been open for the children of ‘key workers’, but found their numbers have been increased by more children, whose parents cannot or will not have their own children at home, because they ‘cannot cope’.

The TAs of course have to ‘cope’ and they do this in close proximity, without having any Covid protection.

I know this year has been unprecedented for us all, but please give a thought for those people who have your children’s future in their hands, a little word of thanks goes a long way.

As they have always done, my daughter and all the other Teaching Assistants in our schools are still doing a fantastic job, but now under the most difficult of circumstances.

Your children would not be receiving the education they have if they were not there.