Teaching Assistants really doing the work of teachers.

(42 Posts)
ishchel Wed 17-Jul-13 12:59:51

Is this prevalent in primary schools?

In September I will have 2 in primary. I am also a teacher but in secondary and I must admit I live in a bubble of sorts so please enlighten me.

Someone I know recently went to an interview as a teaching assistant though she is qualified to teach secondary. From the job description she was told that the interview included being observed working with a group of students doing numeracy.

When she turned up she found out that she was expected to have a lesson plan and was supposed to teach a full blown lesson to these students. In this school it seems like the TAs teach lessons to cover teachers' PPA time, absences and other occasions she listed off.

Do you have an idea what is happening in the schools your children attend?

CeliaFate Wed 17-Jul-13 13:33:19

Yes this happens in my children's school. If they are HLTA they are legally allowed to plan, teach and mark work. It stinks, in my opinion. I am a teacher and spent 4 years in college to qualify as a teacher.
The government are using TAs as cheap labour.

Phineyj Wed 17-Jul-13 13:37:09

Yes, as this happens to my DSis. Mind you, she is a fully qualified teacher but cannot combine the workload with small DC. It is exploitation imo.

mnistooaddictive Wed 17-Jul-13 13:37:19

HLTA are not allowed to plan, they can only teach a lesson planned by a qualified teacher. Blurred boundaries though.

Fairyliz Wed 17-Jul-13 13:38:37

But you didn't really learn how to be a teacher in college, you learnt out on placement. Where I work we have some brilliant HLTA's with 10/15 years experience who in my opinion are definately better than some of the teachers.

CeliaFate Wed 17-Jul-13 13:43:08

The HLTA I know does plan, she is in foundation phase. Yes, some TAs may be better than some teachers, but what is the point of qualifying as a teacher, if you can do the same job as a TA. There is, and should be, a distinct difference in their job specification.

robobear Wed 17-Jul-13 13:43:46

Definitely agree with CeliaFate - TAs are cheap labour! It gets even worse with 'cover supervisors' who don't even necessarily have to have any TA qualifications at all, AFAIK, yet can regularly cover lessons. I remember hearing something about a planned restriction on how regularly they can cover PPA time etc. but not sure how stringently it's enforced.

The interview isn't really representative of what a TA would be expected to do in the classroom if they get the job.

Many schools are setting the bar very high for their new/replacement TA posts and it's becoming more and more common to be given a Task to do at interview, or before it. These Tasks can include plaiing for a lesson, addressing specific topics or assessment focuses etc.

*planning

itsnothingoriginal Wed 17-Jul-13 14:22:13

In our school HLTAs do take the class occasionally but I wouldn't say they are taking on any more teaching responsibility other than supporting with discipline etc.

Aren't they now saying TA role should be axed so it would surprise me if there were plans to increase role and responsibilities? I know quite a few primary TAs who have lost their jobs recently. I was thinking of retraining but decided not to as I heard about the report the government are using which says TAs don't make a difference to children's outcomes and are using this to justify cuts. I'm surprised teacher unions haven't been more angry about this myself!

In our primary, all the hours have been hugely cut for TAs so it's actually volunteer parents doing a lot of the support and 1-1 etc.

ishchel Wed 17-Jul-13 14:50:25

"The interview isn't really representative of what a TA would be expected to do in the classroom if they get the job.

Many schools are setting the bar very high for their new/replacement TA posts and it's becoming more and more common to be given a Task to do at interview, or before it. These Tasks can include plaiing for a lesson, addressing specific topics or assessment focuses etc."

If they are hiring a TA/HTLA then planning a lesson should not be a part of what is expected at interview?

It is about devaluing teachers. I would be cross if this is being done in my DCs school.

CeliaFate Wed 17-Jul-13 14:56:28

These are the guidelines for a HLTA's role.

I see it as helping to find the very best candidate for the role. I wouldn't be happy for a TA to take a class, but I would want one who demonstrated a thorough understanding of what they were supporting.
So many teachers are applying for TA posts that it makes sense to me to raise the bar.

A set task also gives the panel a good idea of an applicant's skills in engaging with children. You don't get that with a set 20min interview with just the panel.

starfishmummy Wed 17-Jul-13 15:19:01

Ds isn't a special school and is now in the secondary dept and imo too much is left to the TAs. To me the clue is in the word "assistant" and that the class or.subject teacher should at least know what they are working on and have an overview of progress. But sadly not.

Back in my teaching days (old gimmer) there were no TAs - there may have been an "Infant Helper" in reception but that was it!

ishchel Wed 17-Jul-13 16:29:08

"So many teachers are applying for TA posts that it makes sense to me to raise the bar."

Raise the bar and raise the salary is fine by me. I want everyone to be properly paid for the work they do. The pay TAs get is abysmal.

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 17:12:48

It happens far less often in primary than in secondary IMHE

Feenie Wed 17-Jul-13 17:35:41

HLTA are not allowed to plan, they can only teach a lesson planned by a qualified teacher.

They are expected to plan - under the supervision of a qualified teacher. Blurred boundaries indeed!

Worriedmind Wed 17-Jul-13 18:23:46

I was a HLTA.
I also did planning, marking and whole lesson teaching.

Snowballed Wed 17-Jul-13 18:51:35

Dd (year 1 ) has a brilliant TA. She takes far more lessons than the teacher. If she wasn't so good I'd be peeved but I rate her more highly than the teacher.

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 18:53:06

even though she is being exploited and your child is being shortchanged

The bar is being raised considerably round here, ischel. I fear the salary being commensurate with the skills required may lag behind for quite some time!

Snowballed Wed 17-Jul-13 19:01:03

Yes Mrz she is being exploited and I feel that she can't possibly earn what she's worth sad

I'm hmm about this. We had a tour of the school DD will probably go to and they seem to use TAs a lot. I have no idea who does the marking and planning. I am sure that they have some great TAs, but the deprofessionalisation of teaching is very worrying.

Much of the reason for the exploitation of TAs in this way (with poor salaries in return for highly skilled work) is that women (mostly) are choosing it as a term time, school hours job. Recruiting admin assistants for schools can be similar - you get bright, well qualified, capable, hard working applicants. It is very "market-driven".

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now