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Seriously, teaching assistants don't get paid enough

(86 Posts)
BelleTheBeatnik Sun 10-Jun-12 19:06:44

Disclaimer: I think this is true for lots of professions and unfortunetly there's pretty much nowt all we can do about it for now, but...

Before my DC started school, I assumed TAs were the nursery nurses who pottered about the classroom, tidying books and overseeing the little one's colouring-in sessions. I now have three DC in primary school and realise just how underestimated they are. It's just dawned on me that the reason my DC get the support they do when they a) find some difficult and need extra help or b) excel in something and need a little 'push' to get them working at the next level, is because there is another adult in the room who can focus on either end of the academic spectrum when the teacher has to teach for the middle ones. I can't believe primary schools ever managed to provide challenging work for thirty children of varying abilities with just one teacher!

Teachers and TAs deserve a particularly good present this summer, I think. grin

Anyway, that's my soppy post done for the night. grin
<<Cracks open the wine>>

MyelinSheath Sun 10-Jun-12 19:08:32

Tell me about it. I'm a TA and will have to give it up soon, it's not a living wage.

hermionestranger Sun 10-Jun-12 19:10:17

Agree. DS1's TA has been the only constant on this academic year so a nice present is definitely in order. A cake I think.

boredandrestless Sun 10-Jun-12 19:14:00

My DS has autism and a 1:1 teaching assistant. She gets him on task to do his work, and apart from me and his father is the only other person with the unenviable task of changing his soiled pull ups on a regular basis (he is 7). Its a low paid job with very little recognition of the hard work that goes into it. My son's TA knows exactly how to handle him and I credit the level he is working at to her.

ReallyTired Sun 10-Jun-12 19:15:40

I suppose the truth is that schools can get some very high calibre women for a pittance. Term time work is extremely popular because lots of mums want work that fits in with their families.

I agree that being a TA is not a living wage. Most TAs at the school I used to work at had a rich husband as a bread winner. Economically it can make more sense to work part time as TA if you have three school aged kids.

Sparklingbrook Sun 10-Jun-12 19:16:54

What is the wage if you don't mind me asking?

OddBoots Sun 10-Jun-12 19:17:57

I totally agree, they do a lot of work for their wage.

You know that nursery nurses don't tend to potter about either though don't you? And they get paid even less usually. smile

EddieIzzardIsMine Sun 10-Jun-12 19:20:40

Youth workers dont potter either - and get paid less!

sassytheFIRST Sun 10-Jun-12 19:21:05

Pay is shocking - I earn nearly as much in one day teaching as I earned all week while I briefly worked as a TA aggressive a career break. Was £8 ish an hour iirc, about 4 years ago. Dreadful.

BelleTheBeatnik Sun 10-Jun-12 19:23:48

OddBoots Sorry just read back what I wrote and it sounds awful, what I meant was I didn't think TAs actually helped to teach the children, but acted more as 'childminders' to allow the teacher to get on with the teaching, IYSWIM. Nursery nurses certainly don't receive enough credit for what they do, I know the ones close to us are like second mothers to lots of the local children. It takes a village to raise a village to raise a child and all that. wink

boredandrestless Sun 10-Jun-12 19:30:25

Sorry to point this out but feel the need to.....

Childminders do exactly the same work (paperwork, planning, observations, etc for each child) as nursery nurses do. They work to the EYFS same as private nurseries and preschools do. smile

ReallyTired Sun 10-Jun-12 19:31:16

There are different grades of TA in my county. A TA in a sleepy infant school will earn less than a TA who works in special school with violent children. Also it depends on the level of responsiblity the TA has. (Ie. lowest grade 13K highest grade 18K) HOWEVER the big killer is that TAs are paid pro rata.

Ie. a top grade TA might only have 12K a year because they aren't paid for the long holidays and don't work 37 hours a week. There are also quite large pension deductions as well, so the take after tax and national insurance is shocking.

BelleTheBeatnik Sun 10-Jun-12 19:33:45

Childminders too. I think as parents we're forever in debt to those who work with our DC.

mrz Sun 10-Jun-12 19:41:35

It varies greatly from LEA to LEA ours are paid considerably more than ReallyTired's area and are salaried but even so there are some great TAs out there who aren't recognised for the professionals they are.

joanofarchitrave Sun 10-Jun-12 19:48:11

I would agree (though also about the number of other jobs this is the case for). I worked as a TA for two terms, all 1:1 out of class. £7.84 an hour doesn't sound that bad, but obviously it's school hours so 25 a week (and I was lucky to be full school hours tbh) and I am the breadwinner. It was the hardest job I ever did and one of the lowest paid. I thought I loved it, but tbh I went to another job six weeks ago and I've only just stopped twitching! How on earth do teachers do what they do?

(I would also agree with mrz on other threads that TAs 1:1 is not necessarily great for the children anyway, but for at least one of the children I was working with, it probably was the only option, and for one other, it was a temporary blip with an exit plan.)

Juniper904 Sun 10-Jun-12 21:13:37

Most of our TAs are employed through an agency and are out of work actors. As soon as they land a role, they leave. Most of the time we don't even get a goodbye.

I would be really shock if I had a child in my school. Most of the TAs are not qualified in any shape or form, and blatantly don't even like children.

Thank-fully, we do have a handful of genuinely good TAs. Mine included.

Sparklingbrook Sun 10-Jun-12 21:15:59

When Ds1 started school years ago I got the impression that for some of the TAs it wasn't their 'vocation' but a job that fitted in well with their own children sad

crkm Sun 10-Jun-12 21:49:39

I am a TA, I have worked as a 1:1 and as a general class TA. I have a degee, and do this job because it fits in with my childen. The pay is terrible, but at the moment I wouldnt do anything else because I love the kids in my classes, and I love what I do. It can be difficult working with some teachers - luckily a minority, who think themselves superior, but most teachers appreciate the work we do.

toothlessthenightfury Sun 10-Jun-12 21:56:53

Can I just say in Scotland we don't have any extra TA support in class, and in P2 we have up to 30 children to provide differentiated work for ...

mrz Sun 10-Jun-12 22:04:46

I'm in Y2 in England 30 pupils no TA

flexybex Sun 10-Jun-12 22:15:16

I think another problem is that TAs do different jobs. Should a TA running a group every day, working on her own initiative, earn more than a TA who sorts reading diaries? Should a TA who has 1:1 with a statemented child, integrates him in groups and stays till 5pm earn more than the TA who sorts reading diaries?

They all earn the same at my school and it's grossly unfair.

olibeansmummy Sun 10-Jun-12 22:19:38

I agree, but then I am a TA lol. I love, love, love my job but I wish it was better paid as I work damn hard! I support 4 autistic children and 3/4 have gone from p8 to 1A-2B in a year, so I'm so proud of them and me tbh. The 4th child now speaks instead of screams and us beginning to read and write so has made progress. I actually flagged up one of the children to the senco last year, as he hadn't been noticed in a very challenging class as he was quiet and didn't cause trouble, so have been there from the beginning with him and volunteered to support him and he's come on in such leaps and bounds, but i honestly think his needs wouldnt have been recognised if I hadnt taken action. I'm so proud of him and that makes the low pay worth it!! It would probably make more sense financially for me to give up my job to work with dh in his business but I never will, so I help dh with his business in the evenings when ds is in bed instead.

olibeansmummy Sun 10-Jun-12 22:21:27

Oops sorry for my long gushing post! blush they are just such fab kids!

Totally agree with you flexybex, but best not say anymore!

Fairenuff Mon 11-Jun-12 12:00:20

I am a TA and love the job. It's so varied and challenging but without the responsibility of all the planning, assessing, reports, etc. that teachers are snowed under with. I rather like having my evenings and weekends free to share with my family.

It's one of those jobs where the more you put in, the more you get out and you can build strong, lasting relationships with other adults and children. The dedication of staff that I work with has to be seen to be believed and a tight team can really pull together to support each other and give the children the best education they can!

But, yeah, the pay is crap grin

noramum Mon 11-Jun-12 13:08:05

DD was two TAs, due to my workdays I only know one of them better and she is an angel.

On the "older" side, maybe 50+ and so lovely but also strict. The children adore her and it will be a struggle to get DD to understand that she won't be with her when she moves to Y1 in September. This TA only does YR, I think because of her ways she fits absolute great with the small ones.

I normally don't like this "Teacher present" concept, the class does a collection and split it between all TAs, teacher and lunch cover. But I will get DD to make an extra special card for her.

Don't know if I want to get used to another TA as well.

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