Are Teaching assistants being cut in your school?

(53 Posts)
fedup21 Mon 06-Jan-14 22:50:46

My friend's school is in the process of getting rid of just about every teaching assistant they have! The new head says that the amount they cost (there are a lot there) doesn't justify the benefits they offer and results do not significantly improve by having them! Is this a widespread thing, I wonder, or just a one-off in her school?

GW297 Tue 07-Jan-14 21:12:43

I think the government is trying to get rid of most of them.

Neverhere Tue 07-Jan-14 21:14:07

Ours have cut experiences tas and hired young apprentices/playworker :s

fedup21 Tue 07-Jan-14 21:58:09

I think the government would like to get rid of teachers as well! ;)

Have they sacked the TAs at your school, Neverhere, or made them redundant? There are over 30 teaching assistants at my current school; when I first started teaching, there were 8!

Neverhere Wed 08-Jan-14 21:30:36

They just haven't replaced tas (many have left due to management) and then brought in in different roles with some old ta responsibilities. There are only 2 tas left in a average sized primary.

fedup21 Thu 09-Jan-14 21:25:37

I suppose it's just going back to how it used to be. There were never TAs when I was at school. But then again-most of the special schools have closed since then, so those children who joined mainstream school, needed support. Hmmm

So far no ta roles gone at our school (nursery & primary) although on a slightly different note there are now no nursery nurses here, there used to be 4, the role is now being done by tas for less money

We have no general class TAs at all, only one-to-one support for Statemented children. This term we expect to see them all quietly pulled away for an hour or two, here and there, to give interventions in year 6. This will gradually increase until May.

It makes me SO angry, on so many levels.

More support across the school would mean less of a panic in year 6 surely?

eatyourveg Sun 12-Jan-14 17:38:59

"An education provider has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to make sure disabled students are not discriminated against. This includes….. Providing extra support and aids.” www.gov.uk/rights-disabled-person/education-rights

Not all pupils with disabilities have statements so what happens to them?

MuttonCadet Sun 12-Jan-14 17:40:33

Both TAs and cover supervisors are being cut in our local school

clam Sun 12-Jan-14 17:47:34

No cuts at our school, specifically, but some classes have full-time cover and mine others only mornings.
But we have to justify their every breathing moment! The minute they stop providing "value for money," whatever that is in a primary school, they'll be out on their ear!
Makes me SO F***ING ANGRY!!!!!

JuliaScurr Sun 12-Jan-14 17:54:15

The global economic/financial crisis was caused by Gordon Brown employing too many Teaching Assistants. Nothing to do with Lehman Brothers, oh no.

We are meant to believe that. Really.

clam Sun 12-Jan-14 17:58:45

I suppose it's just going back to how it used to be. There were never TAs when I was at school.
As you say, it's a whole different ball-game nowadays. Virtually every aspect of the job has changed. Statements aside, we have many more identified needs in class, which require specific intervention, yet at the same time, teachers have to strive to progress every single student forward with no excuses.
If I have a child seriously kicking off in a meltdown (no statement - far and few between in my county) when I'm trying to teach, and there's no other adult in reach to assist, what am I supposed to do?

Neverhere Sun 12-Jan-14 18:03:36

We don't have a ta in class as standard. We have shared support (not all tas so not all as effective as each other). Often statemented children do not receive the support they should. As it comes to Sats when none of them do (even in y6!)

JuliaScurr Mon 13-Jan-14 14:23:41

Dd could not have attended primary without TA support due to anxiety. TA's helped enormously

MrsBazinga Mon 13-Jan-14 17:33:49

We still have class TAs, and some who specifically support statemented children, but the support is stretched very thin (most classes have 2 or 3 statemented children, but one TA who is supposed to support them all). Class TAs have a full timetable of intervention groups, rigorously monitored and checked, and we do struggle as they have no time for doing admin or general tasks (photocopying, displays, preparing resources etc) which is falling back into the teachers' remit, despite union guidelines that it shouldn't.

Fairyliz Sat 18-Jan-14 15:58:58

I am a business manager at a primary school which is now an academy. We have TA's in every class (in two classes they are HLTA's) plus a TA for each of the two statemented children. In addition most of our teaching staff are over the threshold, so my question is what are your schools spending their budgets on?

Ruprekt Sat 18-Jan-14 16:01:05

Who covers lunch times then?

Who covers lunch times then?

We have Lunchtime Supervisors, who are never TAs.

Panzee Sat 18-Jan-14 18:13:08

It's teachers who keep getting cut where I am, and TAs appear to be increasing.

rollonthesummer Sun 19-Jan-14 15:25:20

Class TAs have a full timetable of intervention groups, rigorously monitored and checked, and we do struggle as they have no time for doing admin or general tasks (photocopying, displays, preparing resources etc) which is falling back into the teachers' remit, despite union guidelines that it shouldn't.

That's what it's like in our place. They are so busy doing intervention groups and planning/assessing for them that it falls to the teachers to do photocopying, sharpening pencils, doing displays, washing cups and sticking in work. The SMT seem to feel that TAs are too valuable to spend their time doing these tasks, so I end up doing it at 6pm or 7am-otherwise it won't get done!

Not so far, but i dread this happening. My sn child gets a lot of support from the TAs & the teachers will only struggle without help, and then my dds learning & others in class may suffer. Another stupid step by Cameron & his cronies!!

Where does he think the TAs will be doing once they are sacked confused, benefits of course !

BronzeHorseman Sun 19-Jan-14 15:40:00

Yes, my son's school used to have TAs in all classes all day but now they only have them in the mornings.

rollonthesummer Sun 19-Jan-14 15:42:42

I think a lot of the TAs at my school are actually pretty miserable actually. They are all observed termly, folders taken in and checked regularly, subject to quite unreasonable PM reviews and learning walks. It's a lot of extra bo%*ocks for a very low salary. The older TAs certainly seemed to prefer the job as it was 15 years ago!

GW297 Sun 19-Jan-14 18:16:40

I've seen TA jobs advertised for around £17-£22,000 per annum.

rollonthesummer Sun 19-Jan-14 19:11:57

I would imagine that is pro rata and when you take into account the hours and the holidays, it didn't work our much more than minimum wage.

I know some TAs are paid well, but not the majority.

BronzeHorseman Sun 19-Jan-14 19:21:46

My TA friend works 22 hours and gets just over 7k a year. I know a TA in a special school in London who is on 16k a year for 25 hours.

Panzee Sun 19-Jan-14 20:28:36

TAs get paid very little, they do 32 ish hours a week and don't get paid in the holidays. I think far too much is asked of them.

Panzee Sun 19-Jan-14 20:29:08

I mean for the holidays, not in. smile

LynetteScavo Mon 20-Jan-14 21:45:58

I've seen TA jobs advertised for around £17-£22,000 per annum.

I think that works out at roughly 10-12K, for a full time TA.

Ruprekt Mon 20-Jan-14 22:04:29

For what I get paid, I would refuse to be observed.angryangry

rollonthesummer Mon 20-Jan-14 22:06:08

Are you not observed at your school, Ruprekt?

Hulababy Mon 20-Jan-14 22:07:23

Don't forget the salary you see advertised for a TA is not the salary you actually take home. It is pro rata - so take off the 3 week school holidays and then reduce it to teaching hours only. It comes down a fair bit!

Hulababy Mon 20-Jan-14 22:13:46

At present my (infant) school are not cutting TAs at all. We have a lot of TAs - most classes have a level 3 TA, we have two PT HLTAs who cover PPA and we have some level 1 and 2 one to one TAs too.

Our TA use was highlighted as a massive benefit to the teaching and learning in our school in our recent OFSTED though, and before/after in other inspections. Our TAs tend to be very involved in running interventions, working with children with additional needs, and not just as general use. They are very much teaching assistants, rather than teachers assistants like they used to be.

I was a teacher and now work as a HLTA at our schoo. I teach computing to our Y2s and some EYFS, attend all the head of ICT/computing type courses such as the new curriculum, in charge of e-saafety alongside the head, teach/train other staff (teachers and other TAs) in use of some ICT elements including use of the iPads, set up all the new iPds and have weekly time updatign them, sorting apps out for uncoming topics, etc. I hardly have time for my regular in-class TA work I used to do tbh - too much actual teaching and other stuff.

There is an abundance of TA's in dd's school, around 45 in an 11 class school. There is a ft class TA in each class, TA's for each child with a statement and then TA's who run specific interventions. We feel very fortunate but quite anxious as the HT retires this year and who knows what a new one will bring?

Tabby1963 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:24:46

I am what was previously called a Classroom Assistant, now called Support for Learning Assistant Advanced (SfLA). The council I work for allocate a certain number of 'hours' per school and, due to budget cuts over the years, these 'hours' have been reduced and reduced and we have lost staff.

The long term effect of this is increased stress for all staff remaining, teaching and non-teaching. This is because workload increases year on year (with more and more paperwork, bureaucracy, box-ticking exercises etc., from Government) we are running to keep still.

OP, getting rid of support staff is short sighted and shows that the people making these decisions are ignorant of the important role of TAs. Ultimately it means extra pressure on teachers and in the longer term more absences due to stress and depression.

If the education of our soon-to-be-productive-citizens is really a priority then the number of support staff in schools should increase and teachers should be free to concentrate on teaching our children lecture over hmm

Ruprekt Mon 20-Jan-14 22:28:09

Not observed at my school, no.

Am a classroom TA and then do Intervention in the afternoons.

CouthyMow Mon 20-Jan-14 22:28:39

If I got even a whisper that my DS3's 1-2-1 was being pulled away for teaching Y6's when he's got a full statement, I would go apeshit.

CouthyMow Mon 20-Jan-14 22:37:18

Strictly as a parent's view.

I have noticed that since becoming an Academy in April last year, the floating TA support in every lesson that DD was getting to top up SA+ as the LA won't statement her even though it's patently obvious to anyone who works with her that she should be has dropped to only 'core' lessons - and her Catering lessons after I kicked up a massive stink because that's the area DD wants to go into after Y11.

I picked the school on the basis that DD would get floating support in every lesson, and at the time she started Y7, was reassured by the HT and the Chair of Governors that there were no plans for Academisation, and if DD needed the same level of support, it would be available right up until she left.

Makes me so cross that they have taken away a huge amount of her support when she is in her final year and needs it most. angrysad

Couthy have you made your own request with support from SOSSEN or IPSEA? Have you appealed and gone to Tribunal and still been refused? It seems that nowadays it's necessary to appeal at each and every step of the way tbh but with support it can be done.

Neverhere Tue 21-Jan-14 21:46:39

I would go nuts if it were my statemented children. But at my school many parents either don't understand what their child's statement means (despite normal meetings ect) or have too many home problems to spend time chasing it. In the annual review of one child I taught - the parents said the support was outstanding (a 20 hour statement and I didn't have a ta after Xmas, she had no interventions, I worked with her 1on1 any chance I could and during my ppa) I cried after the meeting!

CouthyMow Tue 21-Jan-14 21:59:11

Tried and tried gave up after end of Y10. College going to support her well enough and course can be done at a slower rate if necessary, I'm too busy fighting for my 3yo's statement now.

Awful that I've had to give up, but DS3 won't be able to attend ANY school without FT 1-2-1 including breaks and lunch, and I've only got so much energy being disabled myself. DD will get the grades she needs for college, she only needs D-G grades, I've done what I can in 14 years of fighting, now DS3 needs that energy, or I'll have to HE, and I'm in no fit state to do that!

CouthyMow Tue 21-Jan-14 22:01:37

Lots of it hinged on the fact that school wouldn't support and even HID the fact that her LD's were moderate rather than 'GDD' until end of Y10, as statement funding is ring fenced, SA+ funding isn't...

The SEN system is broken, and as one parent, I can't fix it. sad

Never that is so awful, that poor child and her poor deceived parents sad I'm in the bizarre position of dd having a statement giving her more support than she needs and so for me I don't care that her TA supports other children and indeed dd sends the TA away if she doesn't need her anyway.

TheBuskersDog Wed 22-Jan-14 23:44:06

In my school a statemented child's TA would never be taken away to work elsewhere in the school, they are always prioritised and if their TA is not there they are always covered, even if that means a teacher has to do without a class TA.

CouthyMow Thu 23-Jan-14 02:08:07

TheBuskersDog - what about those that are on SA+, should have a statement but don't? Where has the support in their IEP's gone...

THAT is the issue - so many DC's that should have statements but don't, are on SA+ with no protection.

Now I KNOW what was in my DD's IEP, and what it meant, and how much TA time she was losing at her review. I was able, as a relatively intelligent, well informed parent, to ask if my DD had made enough progress to warrant the reduction in floating support, and if so, why wasn't that evident in her levels.

Not all parents with DC's with SEN are as well informed as I am, or have the level if education that I have, that enables me to do research and find out how best to help my DD.

I managed to keep the floating support in my DD's Catering lesson because the school then had no choice but to admit to me that they didn't have the same budget for floating support as my DD had had before the Academisation of the school.

I'm quite sure lots of other DC's at her school have lost the floating TA support that was essential for them to access the curriculum.

Look at the number of DC's with statements. Then look at the number of DC's currently on SA and SA+ that often still need enormous amounts of support to access the curriculum.

My DD started Y7, in a MS Comp, on SA+, no statement, with the reading ability of a 6yo and the numeracy skills of a 4yo. How would she access a curriculum designed for the average 11yo without MASSIVE support?

And she is FAR from alone - this is at a high achieving MC comp Academy that people move to in order to get their DC's into. It has the best GCSE results in our town, bar the superselective Grammars.

DD is in no way the DC that requires the most support in her year group, just to be able to access the curriculum, either. And the majority are on SA+, despite limited progress over the entirety of KS1, KS2 AND KS3.

Like I said, the SEN system is broken, beyond repair IMO, and I as one parent can't fix it. I've tried!

CouthyMow Thu 23-Jan-14 02:17:12

(My LA are notorious for refusal to even assess unless you meet their TOTALLY ILLEGAL blanket levels.)

Which the schools often fudge because an SA+ budget can be devolved to the school and used to tart the school up, as it can be used to benefit 'all' the pupils on SA+, whilst a ringfenced Statement budget cannot be used for anything other than for the benefit of the child named on that statement.

Add to that the fact that schools now have to fund the first £6,000 of a statement budget themselves, and they have a very large incentive for NOT getting DC's Statemented.

This issue is often worse at Primary level, but that means that the pupil may have been unable to fully access the curriculum through the whole 7 years of Primary, leaving the Secondaries with a shit heap to sort out, and fuck all money to do it with. And even if the school backs a Statement unlikely unless there are behavioural issues, quiet SEN DC's get fuck all, the school then has to find £6,000 from somewhere in their budget.

Strangely enough, I would imagine that to be almost the annual salary of a PT entry level TA...

hmm

aroomofherown Thu 23-Jan-14 15:44:26

From September, there won't be any School Action or School Action Plus. Just SEN Support - and a student will need have a diagnosed SEN to be on this register. Each of these will get up to £6000 and the money has to be mapped carefully and proof given that it can't meet the child's needs before more funding can be applied for. Actually, schools can't apply for more funding until they spend that money plus £4000 and can prove it doesn't meet the need. Make of that what you will.

No more Statements. They will be Education, Health and Care Plans.

CouthyMow Thu 23-Jan-14 16:22:10

Yes, I know. Yet another reason I'm glad she's in Y11...

rollonthesummer Thu 23-Jan-14 18:34:43

So where has all the money gone that used to be spent on special schools and then on SEN provision in mainstream schools?! You can't just shut them all and not deal with special needs at all?!

aroom shock i didn't even know thatconfused
No wonder school are fobbing me off re statementing!
So if she doesn't get a statement, she won't get any extra help? Is that was this means? If so i bloody hate David Cameron

aroomofherown Fri 24-Jan-14 08:33:56

pumpkin if your child has a diagnosed SEN then they will be on the SEN Support register and will receive funding. If not, then it will be up to the teachers to make sure your child improves.

aroomofherown Fri 24-Jan-14 08:37:16

I think the threshold and criteria for Education Health and Care plan will be up to the individual boroughs to decide. But from what I've read, there is a far greater emphasis on Health than before. Not sure what criteria you are using to apply for a statement but you may still be able to get a EHCP, and if you do, you will be entitled to have a say in how the money will be used.

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