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Can TA be in charge of class?

(41 Posts)
tryingtokeepintune Fri 17-Dec-10 14:52:45

Just spoke to someone whose child is in a school I am thinking of sending dd next year. She said that because there are only 15 children in the class, they need only 1 adult. There is a CT (and TA, I think) for 2 and half days and a TA for 2 and half days. I thought there should be a teacher in the class most of the time.

What is the legal position?

MrsGetoutClaus Fri 17-Dec-10 14:54:51

A TA with a higher level TA qualification can be in charge of a class but can't plan the lesson. I think.

Hulababy Fri 17-Dec-10 14:57:04

A TA can supervise whole classes at certain levels yet, but this appears to be that the school is using a TA to actually cover 2.5 days a week every week. s this correct?

This is definitely not normal practise and is in not appropriate IMO. I am not sure if it is legally allowed or not, but it ought not to be.

At the very least the school is abusing the position of the TA - paying a TA a very low wage but expecting them to do the work of a teacher.

i would not be happy with this at all and I would be unlikely to want my child to go to a school that operates in this way.

MissHellToe Fri 17-Dec-10 14:57:15

Seems a very unsatisfactory arrangement and I'd be very surprised if this is the regular arrangement for this class hmm

Am a secondary teacher and a TA would never be timetabled like this.

tryingtokeepintune Fri 17-Dec-10 16:38:20

From what I gathered, the regular teacher is only contracted to work 2 and a half days a week. Maybe should clarify if it means half a day every day? I did ask if that was usual and she says it is and although the parents are not happy, they can't do anything about it.

I know it is only for young chilfren and maybe they do not need to be formally taught as such but I think it does reflect the school's attitude.

tryingtokeepintune Fri 17-Dec-10 16:38:52

sorry -children

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 17:15:41

A TA with HLTA status (it isn't a qualification) can not be in charge of a class they can teach a class in limited circumstances but not for half a week on a permanent basis.

^The introduction of HLTAs does not mean that teaching assistants can
replace teachers – every class must be allocated a teacher and teachers are
responsible for learning outcomes. This is an important principle confirmed in
the National Agreement.^

The WAMG guidance on HLTAs gives a whole range of examples of different roles for HLTAs. This makes it very clear that being an HLTA does not simply mean someone who can take a whole class. Although some HLTAs can take a group or class from time to time (according to plans agreed with the teacher responsible for that class) it is a wider role.

‘School teachers’ do not include teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants or other support staff. However, support staff may carry out ‘specified work’, such as delivering lessons to pupils in certain circumstances.

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 17:16:47

What age are the children?

mummytime Fri 17-Dec-10 17:32:56

The unions would be very interested.

It could be that the TA is employed as on the registered teacher programme? So is working as a teacher part time?

juneybean Fri 17-Dec-10 17:39:27

I thought it was a ratio of 1:13 <wonders> I'm not sure.... depends how old they are!

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 17:41:58

1-13 is in nursery schools and classes in England but they can not be led by a TA or a HLTA.

juneybean Fri 17-Dec-10 17:43:51

It's got to be a graduate hasn't it?

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 17:47:33

In a school nursery it must be someone with qualified teacher status in private settings it can be someone with a level 6 qualification.
I'm assuming the OP is talking about reception??

Talkinpeace Fri 17-Dec-10 19:37:57

At DS school we have one TA who is an ex DHT - I'd rather she was in charge than ANY supply -
two other who are ex teachers
and a supply who is a former HT.
If the teacher cannot be there, at primary, continuity is king.
Of discipline, lesson planning and ethos.

The fact that three teachers all of whom have suffered breakdowns were brave enough to come back as TA's (and by golly the kids do not mess them about) is an excellent use of taxpayer resources....

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 19:40:36

actually the school must be rubbing their hands in glee that they are getting three teachers for the price of one with parent's blessing even though they are breaking the law

tryingtokeepintune Fri 17-Dec-10 19:48:41

Yes, I am talking about reception class.

Not sure if TA is a graduate or a registered teacher programme but know she is about to retire.

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 20:02:33

Reception comes under infant class size regulations so must be led by a qualified teacher the school is breaking the law.

Hulababy Fri 17-Dec-10 20:14:14

Talkinpeace - but even if the TAs are qualified teachers they are not exmployed - or paid - as teachers. They are employed as TAs and paid as TAs, therefore they should only being doing TA roles, not teaching. To do otherwise is to take a massive advantage of those members of staff - that is not good long term to the status of teachers and TAs alike.

Talkinpeace Fri 17-Dec-10 21:27:57

I did not make myself clear.
The school is a 1 class per year intake.
There only are 8 official teachers including the HT.
These "TA" teachers are used for all short notice supply
and having been on the receiving end, they are FAR better than the emergency supply teachers.
The "law" is due for overturning if it is an impediment to effective classroom learning.
For all planned vacancies, supply is booked through the normal agency..

mrz Fri 17-Dec-10 21:47:12

It doesn't matter whether it is 1 class per year intake or 10 classes per year the law is clear. In the event of unplanned absence TAs can be asked to cover the class under the guidance of a teacher for planned absence as in the OP where the TA is covering half the week a TA can not cover.

Talkinpeace Fri 17-Dec-10 21:58:18

I know that you are a v v v diligent teacher
here's a scenario that schools in poorly resourced areas face weekly...
choice is - accept whatever supply staff are left at the agency
or use TA's who know the school and the kids and the QCA points

I'd be interested to know what your head would do but know from the schools DH has visited (av 150 / year) that the "law" is a central London management consultant ass that does not know how to help children learn.

Feenie Fri 17-Dec-10 22:08:40

Our governors have a policy which allows teachers only to teach. They see anything else as teaching on the cheap. We use supply teachers who are very well known to the school and employ a teacher to cover PPA. The Head also teaches (in fact, he covers my PPA time).

What are QCA points? confused

Talkinpeace Fri 17-Dec-10 22:12:42

pleased to hear it.
QCA - the whole ever so narrow NC system. box ticked, done attitude.
What DS school does is the best of a bad situation.
I'm glad other schools have even better choices

Feenie Fri 17-Dec-10 22:15:27

But QCA isn't the 'NC system'. QCA schemes were strait-jacket examples designed to 'help' schools deliver the NC. Most schools chose ages ago to ignore them.

Adair Fri 17-Dec-10 22:18:05

Agree that v unfair on the TA. Nothing to do with her capability or not, but if doing a teacher's job on a TA salary... I don't like it.

Have seen the same thing happening with NHS, nurses being asked to do what would previously have been undertaken by Doctors. But paid the same.

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