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To think Children in Year 4 and Year 5 should not have a Teacher in class only four days a week?

(59 Posts)
Arachnophobe Wed 16-Jan-13 22:46:50

Is it reasonable that TA's should have to cover every Friday on a permanent basis?
Due to DS1s Teachers working four days a week it happened in year 4 and is happening again now in Year 5.
Disclaimer: I am not dissing TA's abilities in any way but shouldn't class sizes of 29 should have Teacher and TA and therefore shouldn't the school also arrange a supply Teacher for Fridays?
Friday is partially taken up with P.E and Assembly but I have written (nicely of course) to Head to find out what the situation actually is and what will happen in Year Six.
Am I being precious/over-the-top?

Arachnophobe Wed 16-Jan-13 23:19:01

The School P.E Teacher takes the actual P.E Lesson which is in the morning. Assembly is 2.30-3.05ish then School out at 3.15.

storynanny Wed 16-Jan-13 23:19:15

I totally agree that the assistants taking class responsibility should be paid accordingly. In my experience they work extremely hard with the children in their care and you would be horrified to know how little they are paid.

storynanny Wed 16-Jan-13 23:23:53

It's because the class is the responsibility of the named class teacher and if she/he wasn't in the PE room/hall and something went wrong..... So I think it's h and s and insurance, but don't quote me, I just know its a "rule"

Salmotrutta Wed 16-Jan-13 23:23:54

This is not allowed in Scotland. A qualified teacher has to be present in a class - primary or secondary.

And that's still taking account of CPD/non contact time. It's usually arranged by internal cover but admittedly I don't know how it works in primary so much up here. I think they just timetable in non contact slots using other teaching staff.

In secondary each teacher has a minimum of 6 non contact lessons so any teachers who have maybe 7 or 8 etc. will be asked to do cover for 1 or 2 lessons a week.

echt Wed 16-Jan-13 23:36:57

I agree that HLTA/TAs are paid badly, but then they were brought in with the long term aim to get teachers on the cheap. Same with cover supervisors.

The teaching unions said this would happen when it was first proposed.

flow4 Wed 16-Jan-13 23:41:00

Really? This is common practice? I had no idea, and I admit I am shocked! So children commonly only get taught by a teacher 80% of the time? shock

And the fuss schools make if parents only send their children to school 80% of the time...!

Veritate Wed 16-Jan-13 23:41:08

Children are entitled to full time education, which means teaching by a qualified teacher. OK, a TA could cover the occasional session, but schools should organise themselves so that PPA is covered by teachers. The school where I'm a governor does it by outsourcing PE and Games to instructors who are much better qualified to teach them than the average class teacher, and I know of other local schools where they employ float teachers to provide cover.

Startail Wed 16-Jan-13 23:57:26

TA covered one PE lesson and spellings etc one morning.

Not great, boys knew she wasn't a teacher and messed about in PE even though she had the qualifications to take it.

Spellings caused grief because she totally failed to get the difference between being lazy and finding it difficult. DD1 gave up even trying because less than 15/15 got you moaned at.

makemineapinot Thu 17-Jan-13 00:14:18

I was an HLTA and as such have proved I met 90% of the teaching standards. I had a degree and 2 post grad qualifications so knew my 'salary' didn't really merit what I did but it was a route into teaching for me as a single parent. I can honestly say that I always put children's needs first and although I worked with many fantastic teachers, I also had the misfortune to work with one real lazy cow who made up IEPs for the neediest kids, wandered off in lessons, made sarcastic comments about children's work and fabricated assessments - so in that instance think I'd be justified to say they got a better learning experience from me than her, the qualified teacher!!! I am now a teacher and really really value my ta (when I get one....)

flow4 Thu 17-Jan-13 07:27:51

makemine that's a good point. I can also think of excellent TAs, many with degrees, some better than the qualified teachers.
I suppose what is awful about this - apart from schools putting cost-cutting above quality - is that there aren't the same standards for TAs, and there is a massive range of skills and experience, without any kind of 'minimum level'. I might be wrong, but it seems to me it turns education into even more of a lottery, because your child might get a brilliant, over-qualified TA... Or s/he might get one (as my DS's classy did several years running) who is less bright than many of the children. Her heart was in the right place, but the thought that she might have been expected to teach is shocking.

Dancergirl Thu 17-Jan-13 07:43:20

Exactly flow4

I think we all get a bit too hung-up on formal qualifications these days and assume if someone has them, it follows that they do their job well. Not just teachers either. We had an architect work for us when we did work on our house. Because he was an older man nearing retirement, he didn't have any formal qualifications because they weren't required then. But he was fantastic at his job and I trusted his advice 100%.

Sometimes the most highly qualified aren't neccesarily the best!

OP, if they've got PE in the morning with a teacher and assembly takes up part of the afternoon, there's actually not too much teaching time left with the TA. Personally, I would let this one go.

storynanny Thu 17-Jan-13 08:05:15

Make mine, flow, dancer I agree with all you say. Even with continual and rigorous monitoring, assessment etc of staff these days I do think education is a lottery. This of course is disgraceful.

valiumredhead Thu 17-Jan-13 08:14:20

I'd much rather a class was taught by a TA that knows the kids than supply teacher, kids are much less likely to mess around.

Osmiornica Thu 17-Jan-13 08:15:48

This is very common. Our school has teacher cover for ppa but I don't think this will last as the school doesn't have a lot of money and even less coming in year after year.

schoolgovernor Thu 17-Jan-13 08:24:39

Why don't you get your head around the national expected levels of attainment for children in your child's age group, and find out how yours is doing? Also ask to see the data relating to progress. If you're interested in more than just your child ask to see the data for the whole class (it can be anon). The school governors should be monitoring how the pupils in the school are getting on and being presented with this sort of information regularly, so I'd expect you to be able to pick this up by just asking to read the governing body public minutes (possibly full governing body meetings and a relevant committee).
I'd suggest you do that before you think of complaining about staffing. Sometimes schools have to operate in situations that aren't ideal, but as parents our bottom line should surely be - how is the school supporting all of the pupils there? Is it working? The data tells you.

threesypeesy Thu 17-Jan-13 08:28:44

im a fully qualified education support assistand and nursery nurse,

i could deliver a lesson easily to a class of children just because they are not a fully qualified teacher dont knock there ability and commitment to the childrens educations some of the teacher ive worked with are amazing some really are a disgrace that hate children and have no time for them. the mind boggles at the career choice.

if you have just found out about this and havent seen any change in dcs work whats the problem?

dinnermoneyready Thu 17-Jan-13 08:40:44

If to think having an experienced TA is unacceptable, wait until Mr Gove has finished his school revolution - there is no requirement for a teacher in an academy to be a qualified teacher. I would rather have a TA who knows the pupils and the school well.

valiumredhead Thu 17-Jan-13 08:41:59

You don't have to be a qualified teacher to work in a private school either iirc - yet people happily pay to send their children.

Arachnophobe Thu 17-Jan-13 09:53:32

Thanks very much to you all for your feedback. This thread has been a kick up the backside to me but please note that I have not and would not knock TAs and I have not complaiNed just written an letter which is unsent.
school governer thanks that is interesting. I'll start by screwing up this letter (for now) and ask what level he and DS2 are currently at in an e-mail and from that response I will also try to help them reach their potential. I think I am barking up the wrong tree and need to help them more myself. I would also like to open my eyes to reality of School life especially Secondary nowadays. The arrival of DS3 and returning to work full time has meant I have neglected this area somewhat. Thanks again and please keep any opinions coming.

storynanny Thu 17-Jan-13 17:21:44

Valium, many supply teachers are regulars at a particular school and work closely with the ta in the class. Im very aware that the Ta's know the children better than me and am always grateful for their valuable input and support. Supply teachers cost schools a lot of money and they should jolly well be working hard for their money, including working closely with regular staff so that the children are not merely marking time and being babysat. If a class teacher is also a senior leader, eg SENCo or Deputy Head then they probably have an extra session out of the classroom which would mean even less contact with their own class. What I'm trying to say is that there is much variation on how the class time is managed and all schools have their own preferred method for covering the absent teacher.

RainbowsFriend Thu 17-Jan-13 17:37:26

arachnophobe - well I'm fairly horrified about the situation at secondary, and I'm a teacher! I think cover supervisors with no subject specific knowledge should not deliver sequences of lessons to pupils. Especially if they think they know how to, but don't. And then you have to re-teach it all and put up with the "but, Miss X said..."< insert piece of completely incorrect information...>

I speak from unfortunate experience....

mrsstewpot Thu 17-Jan-13 17:40:40

TAs are paid significantly less than teachers. Even without the planning, it is unfair to expect them to take on the responsibilty of sole teaching and discipline on a much lesser pay.

storynanny Thu 17-Jan-13 18:07:36

Mrsstewpot, I completely agree with you.

Euphemia Thu 17-Jan-13 18:09:47

This just wouldn't be allowed in Scotland. The children must be taught by a qualified teacher for all 25 hours per week. Classroom assistants can work with groups, but they are not allowed to be in sole charge of a class.

mrsstewpot Thu 17-Jan-13 18:29:31

I teach in Scotland and although this would not be allowed I'm sure it will be proposed at some point (if it hasn't already and I've missed it). Far more ludicrous proposals have been put out there.

Agree with storynanny's previous points about TAs - it's shocking what they are paid and they do an invaluable job.

Incidentally I am returning to work after having a baby. Had to leave my job due to relocating within Scotland, however hoped to secure some supply work. This has not happened. I'm trying not to take this personally - it seems schools do not have the funds or authority to employ supply teachers or extra staff as required and must cover the classes more creatively.

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