Law on Teaching assistant taking a year 5 class 2+ days every week(3 Posts)
My daughter is in year 5 and is being 'taught' by a level 4 teaching assistant 2 day a week, every week as her other teacher is the deputy head. On occasions, where the head teacher is absent, this increases to 3 days a week.
The homework is ambiguous, the quality of teaching is dubious and I have real concerns for my daughters progress this year as do some of the other parents.
The class were told this week that they couldn't use the ICT suite as their work last week was rubbish, my daughter was handed her homework back because she hadn't underlined the date, her table was given some work to do at an attempt at differentiation but this had already been done with the other teacher so were told simply to finish their art work in their trays (during a maths lesson) Could someone tell me if it is legal for this TA to have control of the class for 2+ days each week and if it is, any advice on what I can do to challenge the situation?
I wouldn't be happy with this either but according to the NUT it is legal but not desirable (HLTA stands for Higher Level Teaching Assistant):
the HLTA job description does include "specified work" and they can, in law, "teach". The HLTA contract will include a clause permitting "some" whole class teaching "for short periods", but this is not defined and, as there is nothing in the regulations to prevent it, in some schools HLTAs and even TAs are employed to teach timetabled whole classes. This is against NUT policy but not against the law, unfortunately.
Unison seems to agree but thnks it is more of a grey area
a more senior role of higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) which includes
working with groups and whole classes for a certain period."
There's some stuff here about the definitions. I think however that 2 days per week is vastly different from just covering PPA (when teacher have their planning time each week). 40% of the time your DD is with an unqualified teacher and I do not think the Deputy Head can be planning each and every one of those days in addition to the other work he or she is doing.
The issue here is what the arrangements are for the deputy head. From what has been said in the post the deputy seems to have a 0.6 teaching commitment and a 0.4 leadership and management / PPA commitment. So the head teacher should have made appropriate arrangements to cover the other 0.4 teaching commitment and so the question is whether the decision was to use the HLTA or has a teaching commitment gone wrong and the HLTA is a short term measure.
If it is the latter then this is OK, if however it is a long term arrangement then I think that the school is stretching the rules beyond what is reasonable, though it is a grey area. I think it also needs to be said that in many cases a known entity of an HLTA can be a better substitute than unknown supply teachers.
My inclination would be to send an email to the head teacher and say that you understand from your daughter that she is currently being taught 2 days a week by a TA, is this a long term or short term situation. If the reply is long term then I would suggest that you make a formal complaint that the school is failing to teach your daughter with a qualified school teacher two day a week and ask for an explanation. The head will then need to reply to the formal complaint and you will then be able to escalate that as a complaint to the governing body. Really you need to have gone through this process before you can refer it to the LA.
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