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No teacher in reception class, just TA

(95 Posts)
madhairgirl Wed 07-Mar-12 16:51:04

I was in m DS reception class this afternoon to listen to children read and they had no teacher just the TA from Y2 who isn't qualified. Is this standard if teacher has gone home ill? I think I just felt uncomfortable because she seemed to have little control over the class and little knowledge of their routines. At one stage all the children stood up and where looking out of the window and because they were pushing and shoving they managed to knock some shelving over. Just feel a bit concerned.

cookiesnap Wed 07-Mar-12 16:53:30

Sounds pretty crap to me, but if she was the TA from Y2 I would assume there was either some essential meeting involving the reception team or that this was just a one-off emergency cover.

DeWe Wed 07-Mar-12 16:54:33

If the teacher had gone home ill, and there was no one else would you have been happier if they'd sent the children home?

mrz Wed 07-Mar-12 16:55:46

A TA can cover the class (she isn't legally allowed to teach the class) when a teacher is unexpectedly absent for a short time if the head is confident they are capable of doing so. For longer or planned (courses) it should be a qualified teacher.

Hulababy Wed 07-Mar-12 16:56:44

You say she wasn't qualified - in what way is she not qualified?

madmum04 Wed 07-Mar-12 17:04:21

Its totally normal practice in our school if a teacher has gone home ill, TAs are very qualified these days and work very hard so I have no problem with this if needed for a short term absence by the class teacher

CowboysGal Wed 07-Mar-12 17:08:21

'just' a TA. You say that as though you are talking about a helper with no training or experience. As a TA you are not able to teach a class but are certainly qualified to supervise a class. I get so upset to be described as 'just' a TA as though it's a nothing job

mrz Wed 07-Mar-12 17:08:55

In some schools TAs are totally unqualified madmum.

londonmackem Wed 07-Mar-12 17:28:40

In some schools TAs cover the teacher's PPA time so this may happen every week. It shouldn't but it does. However, some TAs are better than the teachers they support.

FlossieTeacakeShouldFakeIt Wed 07-Mar-12 17:32:03

How do you know she isn't qualified?

madhairgirl Wed 07-Mar-12 17:38:48

Sorry didn't mean to offend anyone, I meant "just" as in there was just one adult for a class of 30. I was concerned at the lack of discipline and control and the fact that my DS who has SEN was visibly upset at times and I was unable to comfort him.

Hulababy Wed 07-Mar-12 17:39:04

TAs who do cover should be qualified. There are guidelines in place as to what each level can and can't do as part of their contract.

From level 3 up they can cover short term teacher non-planned absence, such as sickness (up to 3 days, although mostly it is just first day) but not planned ones like courses. Level 3 up can also cover PPA time, but at level 3 this should only be supervising a class or delivering pre-prepared work, planned by the teacher, and not teaching.

At level 4, or HLTA, they can cover PPA and plan and deliver their own lessons for this work.

The experience and qualifications of TAs can and does vary greatly from school to school, and even within schools. Where I work the TAs, esp those at level 3 and above are very well qualified (4 are qualified teachers) and experienced (many been within the school for many years). We do have Level 1 and 2 TAs but they have different roles at our school - mainly 1:1 with statemented children.

overmydeadbody Wed 07-Mar-12 17:44:24

madhair if you were there with your DS why were you unable to comfort him?

madhairgirl Wed 07-Mar-12 17:49:51

Because it was carpet time and he was at the back in the far corner and I can't really climb across lots of children to get him, and I didn't want to be undermining the TA.

overmydeadbody Wed 07-Mar-12 18:15:58

Of course you can climb through other children to get to him, how do you think classroom staff get to distressed children at carpet time? I don't think it would have undermined the TA either, unless she was already comforting him and you barged in and took over.

As you said yourself, she was finding it hard to control a whole class of reception children on her own. Poor woman.

kilmuir Wed 07-Mar-12 18:19:18

Ok for an unexpected illness.
You were quite restrained OP, my bossy nature would have had me telling children to quieten down and sit on bottoms!

LeeCoakley Wed 07-Mar-12 18:21:38

Where was the usual TA?
The trouble with TAs covering classes is usually they have no 'TA' of their own to support them!

AllotmentLottie Wed 07-Mar-12 19:39:47

Madhairgirl, I am presuming you are an adult. So there were two adults present, not just one. I don't think it would have been undermining the TA if you were backing her up in her requests. e.g if she told them to come back from the window, and you were nearer the window than her, you should have stood between the window and the kids and said "You need to listen to Mrs TA, away from the window" or whatever.

Mummle Wed 07-Mar-12 20:10:32

I feel sorry for the TA - covering a full class of reception children on less than half of the wages that the reception teacher probably gets! And, as LeeCoakley said, they have no TA to support them!

Seriously, though, I really don't think that a TA should be responsible for a class of 30 reception children - unless they are an HLTA and, they should have at least another TA in there for support, as well. To simply have one adult in charge of 30 little reception kids is quite dangerous.

Mummle Wed 07-Mar-12 20:10:52

I feel sorry for the TA - covering a full class of reception children on less than half of the wages that the reception teacher probably gets! And, as LeeCoakley said, they have no TA to support them!

Seriously, though, I really don't think that a TA should be responsible for a class of 30 reception children - unless they are an HLTA and, they should have at least another TA in there for support, as well. To simply have one adult in charge of 30 little reception kids is quite dangerous.

mrz Wed 07-Mar-12 20:17:48

1 to 30 is the legal ratio in reception does having a teaching qualification make it safer?
But I agree TAs don't get paid enough ...

Mummle Wed 07-Mar-12 20:26:42

No - I meant that having a qualification such as an HLTA would somewhat make it more likely that, while the teacher was away, the teaching provided would be 'sound'. Further, the ratio of 30:1 for reception class is unwise, albeit it may be the 'legal' (minimum) requirement. What would happen if the teacher had an emergency with one of her 30 pupils...as they are only reception kids, they could hardly be trusted to stay unattended for several minutes, if the teacher or TA had to dash out to tend to the 'emergency' - meeting a 'minimum' legal requirement may get one out of a legal proceeding, but that doesn't mean that it is prudent.

mrz Wed 07-Mar-12 20:34:54

I'm afraid legally a TA can't teach they can only supervise the class.
As a reception teacher for many years I often found myself with 30 children and an emergency ... but the government (previous and current) won't accept it isn't realistic.

Mummle Wed 07-Mar-12 20:39:41

Surely an HLTA can teach- they supposedly plan and deliver their own lessons - this is what I have heard? Regular TA's teach, as well, don't they - not whole classes, but small groups?

mrz Wed 07-Mar-12 20:45:17

TAs can deliver activities planned by a teacher even HLTAs are supposed to work under the direction of a teacher.
www.tda.gov.uk/~/media/resources/support-staff/hlta/hlta-roles-guidance-for-schools.pdf

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