what are the rules on TA covering classes - regular, one afternoon a week

(40 Posts)
pecans Wed 14-Nov-12 17:22:33

My dd's class is taken by a TA for one afternoon a week. I like the TA but when I told my mum (ex-head) she thought that was appalling because the dc weren't being taught.

Are schools allowed to use a TA to cover PPA time?

exoticfruits Wed 14-Nov-12 17:25:16

They shouldn't but they do-it is a lot cheaper!

Gooshka Wed 14-Nov-12 17:34:33

Only if they are Higher Level Teaching Assistants. HLTAs are allowed to take classes but only for a certain number of hours.

pecans Wed 14-Nov-12 17:35:53

Would parents know whether the TA is a higher level TA? I wasn't bothered tbh, but dd doesn't like it and my mum's comments have struck a chord.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 17:37:34

It depends on the level ... a level 4 TA can cover PPA time.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 17:39:41

The TA doesn't have to have HLTA status just the higher level qualification.

singinggirl Wed 14-Nov-12 17:39:41

I know two TAs who are also qualified (and experienced) teachers, so they are very competent to cover PPA. Could this be the case here?

GateGipsy Wed 14-Nov-12 18:16:56

After consulting with parents our school started using HLTAs/higher level TAs as PPA cover. It is cheaper than getting in agency teachers, and frankly preferable for the parents. Often the TAs in classes were better than the supply teachers! And since the HLTAs are often so good it is hard to tell the difference between them and teachers many parents had already made it clear that they would prefer teaching staff they knew, and who knew their children, to be covering.

auntevil Wed 14-Nov-12 18:20:37

Pecan - Just a thought, but seeing as the CT would have prepared the lesson, who would be preferable? The TA who knows the children and their abilities, and who the children know, or perhaps an agency teacher. We have had some excellent agency staff, but also some pretty woeful ones too.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 18:29:15

auntevil class teachers do not prepare lessons taught during their PPA time.

auntevil Wed 14-Nov-12 18:35:33

Maybe not in your school! mrz, they most definitely do in ours (bone of contention for some, considering how much agency costs)

beamme Wed 14-Nov-12 18:36:35

mrz they do in our school

pecans Wed 14-Nov-12 18:44:33

I don't know what I think would be preferable auntevil - my mum's comment has just been bugging me.

I really like this TA but she's not particularly educated (eg she hasn't got a degree). Does that matter? I don't know really - I guess that is what I am asking because I don't want to seem critical or unsupportive at school. DD doesn't like the afternoon the TA takes them, but maybe that is because she doesn't like change.

In the last school we were at, there was a 'spare' teacher who covered the PPA time, so she both knew the dc and was a really fabulous teacher.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 18:49:33

You should both check out the Workforce agreement what clearly states class teachers should not be expected to plan for their own PPA time ... your schools are breaking the law by asking staff to do this.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 18:51:57

and of course you shouldn't be marking any work produced by your class during your PPA time

auntevil Wed 14-Nov-12 18:58:10

mrz when you have your PPA - do you not give the person covering any instructions as to what they should be doing?
Our school uses several different methods for covering.
Specialist art teacher - PPA time during lesson - art teacher plans.
HLTAs - follow week's planning
Agency - same teacher each week. Follows plan from CT
Several CTs would rather use their TA or HLTA to cover as they know the level of their support and can continue their plans.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 19:01:37

No auntevil I don't give them any instructions.

Durab Wed 14-Nov-12 19:02:50

People often say they "shouldn't". At our school, it's mainly HLTAs that do, but the only difference is that the regular TAs get £3.15 extra an hour for covering a class, whereas the HLTAs have to do it for their ordinary money. All PPA time is covered by TAs here and most sickness.

Hulababy Wed 14-Nov-12 19:10:56

We looked into this in detail a year ago at school, with the LEA and the unions.

Level 1/2 TAs should not be covering PPA or taking classes on their own at all.

Level 3 TAs can cover PPA but it is not recommended. They should only be delivering preplanned work - not teaching nor planning either. However teachers are not supposed to plan for lessons that occur during their PPA - in some schools they do anyway, and in some schools PPA time is simply supervision - maybe whilst their is a PE lesson occurring with a pe specialist taking the class, might be golden time, on other non-teaching activities. Level 3 TAs can also be used to cover up to 3 days of unplanned teacher absence (though most schools set this to just first day).

HLTA/Level 4 TAs can cover PPA. They plan, deliver, teach and assess.

Although many TAs are qualified and experiences teachers, with QTS, if they are employed as a ta they should be used for TA work, not teaching duties. If they are used for teaching duties then they should be employed and paid accordingly.

auntevil Wed 14-Nov-12 19:14:22

Maybe we just have a lot of control freaks? grin
Back to pecans point, my DSs are taught by HLTAs and TAs and I am quite happy - but then I know that the lesson has been prepared by the teacher and 'delivered' by the TA.
We also have TAs with a good level of experience and qualifications, who , if they cover lessons, get regularly assessed by the SLT.

Euphemia Wed 14-Nov-12 19:26:34

In Scotland, only a teacher is allowed to be in sole charge of a class.

exoticfruits Wed 14-Nov-12 20:20:38

I know two TAs who are also qualified (and experienced) teachers, so they are very competent to cover PPA. Could this be the case here?

If it is the case I would hope they get a teacher's pay!

I did PPA time as a regular supply teacher-I did all the planning, preparation and marking. I can't see how it helps the teacher if they have to do the planning.

41notTrendy Wed 14-Nov-12 20:24:37

At my last school, PPA was planned and marked by me and delivered by a TA. At my current school PPA is planned, taught and marked by a permanent, part-time teacher.
It depends on the school. And how much they can get away with. What should happen and what does happen can be worlds apart.

numbum Wed 14-Nov-12 20:36:36

Ours have PE with outside coaches during PPA time. I'm shocked to learn that teachers dont need to plan to cover their PPA though. So a supply could come in and not have a clue what they're supposed to be doing? Or do they get told in advance what they need to plan for (actually I'm guessing that's what happens now I've written it down!)

exoticfruits Wed 14-Nov-12 20:41:07

The supply teacher does have a clue!! They work there regularly, discuss it with the teacher and have proper plans-seen by the teacher in advance.
Where this doesn't happen I know that teachers don't really find it worthwhile-it is easier to teach it themselves.

It depends on the school. And how much they can get away with. What should happen and what does happen can be worlds apart.

In a nutshell!

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