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.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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".

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 19:07:05

your child has the right to be taught by an effective teacher

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 19:08:46

our TAs are paid more than an NQT and are not asked to do a teacher's job.

An effective qualified teacher or an effective teacher in the sense if "person doing the teaching"?

I don't think TAs round here are paid more than an NQT.

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 19:33:31

and still expected to do a qualified teachers job hmm

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 19:46:28

I think the old guard NNEB trained TAs know far more about child development and objectives

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snowballed Wed 17-Jul-13 20:01:03

As a parent it's hard to demand this though. I can make comments to the HT etc but I can't force them to do anything. FWIW dd has progressed really well & I have no issues about that, but obviously can't say what would have happened if there had been a teacher in the classroom more often.

Her yr 2 teacher is young & enthusiastic and parents speak highly of him so hopefully he will be a more permanent fixture in the classroom smile

mrz Wed 17-Jul-13 20:08:11

They never were just expected to wipe bottoms and blow noses BeerTricksPotter ... they did a TWO year full time course that was more as rigorous as some PGCEs are now.

MilkRunningOutAgain Wed 17-Jul-13 20:33:33

We have 2 new TA s next year, one has a masters in English, the other used to be a teacher , both have young kids and want to work part time. The kids will benefit I'm sure, but it seems weird to me that so many people undersell themselves. I've no intention of applying for a demotion at work! I suppose they just can't find higher paying roles locally.

They probably can't find higher paying roles with those family friendly hours. Teaching isn't family friendly beyond the school holidays as you have to give your life and soul to it in term time.

youarewinning Wed 17-Jul-13 20:54:46

I'm a HLTA. I certainly plan and deliver lessons. I have an area that I am specialist in and was planning under a teacher guidence and now do it myself. I also assess the pupils.

It's usual when covering a teacher for courses etc - so full day they leave plans. IME a HLTA will deliver the same subject weekly and take on responsibility for it. e'g dance, forest schools, art etc.

That sounds great when the skills/knowledge of the TA complement those of the teacher and, for me, where the subject isn't a core one. Primary teachers are unlikely to be experts in all of music, dance, PE, art etc, so a TA with experience and expertise in an area would be very welcome. I can't see much risk in these areas and if my DD showed real aptitude in one of those areas I would probably look for teaching/coaching outside school from a specialist coach/teacher. I wouldn't rely on school to cover them fully, it would be a bit of a bonus if the school did.

I would be uncomfortable with a TA teaching the entirety of literacy or numeracy from planning through to assessment, but I assume that doesn't happen anyway.

simpson Wed 17-Jul-13 21:51:19

In the school I volunteer in there is 1 HLTA who "floats" and can cover whole days in a class whilst the teacher is on a course/ill or something but the lesson plan is already done by the class teacher.

Hulababy Wed 17-Jul-13 21:57:39

milk - not a demotion for me, well I don't see it as that. I was a teacher, now a HLTA but do a fair bit above and beyond. I chose to be a HLTA rather than a teacher whilst DD was younger as it suited me best. Being a teacher didn't fit into what I wanted in terms of home:work balance especially whilst DD has been in primary. Also I moved from secondary teaching to primary HLTA - so great experience for if I fancy teaching again in the future - as I would never return to secondary again.

And yes - HLTAs can indeed plan, deliver and assess. Been through this all in great detail with unions, HR, headteachers, etc in past 2 years.

Hulababy Wed 17-Jul-13 22:00:26

I do PPA cover and in much of that time I teach the ICT lessons to my classes (primarily Y2). So I use my skills - so our Y2s do programming, photo and video editing, create animations, use online databases, create spreadsheets, etc as well as your general internet research/PowerPoint and Word type stuff. It benefits the children as they learn higher level skills than they were doing previously, and it benefits the teachers as they are less confident (or less knowledgable) about some aspects of ICT/technology,

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