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Reception phonics teaching led by TA

(18 Posts)
Bordersmummy Mon 03-Nov-14 23:16:14

DC in reception tells me that they are now using mixed groups (rather than form groups) for the daily Read Write inc phonics sessions. They have split the three-form year group into four groupings with three being led by the teachers and one (his) by a TA. I think the groups are probably ability based - with the more able readers with the TA but am not sure. I feel a bit unsure about DS's phonics being led by a TA rather than a Teacher. Am I being pfb? Is this normal practice? DS goes to school wrap around so it hard for me to ask a quick question of the teacher without making a phone call and making it into a big deal.

erin99 Mon 03-Nov-14 23:27:48

It's normal at our school - those further behind go out with the TA to do their phonics in a small group while the majority are doing theirs with the teacher. TA also does extra one to one with children needing extra.

This is Y1. I'm not sure if they did it in YR but it's the same principle.

fourthandfinal Mon 03-Nov-14 23:31:53

You're being a little PFB but I do understand your concern. For us, the groups rotate every half-term so not the same TA or teacher each time and also the child reads with the teacher proper every fortnight minimum but usually every week. I think the small groups are the best way to teach and mean that abilities can be split in the best way (& gives each child room to move within groups) as long as teacher keeps an eye on progress, which I am sure they do at our school. Have you got a parents' evening coming up? Why don't you ask then?

Pipbin Mon 03-Nov-14 23:36:48

Perfectly ordinary. Teachers cannot be everywhere at once.
Hopefully they will rotate who the teacher works with over a week or term.

Tauriel1 Mon 03-Nov-14 23:38:49

Sorry I think you're being a bit pfb.

Teaching phonics isn't a difficult task for a TA, and it will be reviewed by the teacher. TAs in early years especially tend to do the same work, observations, completion of learning journals etc as the teacher. The teacher however plans for the curriculum, long term planning etc.

christinarossetti Mon 03-Nov-14 23:44:05

I think this is pretty standard practice for lots of phonic teaching; splitting across forms and often year groups, with half-termly assessments and movement across groups.

Everyone teaching the scheme will have been trained in it, and the focused phonic teaching is just a small amount of the total reading, writing and speaking they do each day.

IMVHO, it's better practice to have TAs teaching the pupils who are 'ahead' (or whatever term you want to use) as they're pretty much sailing through it, and teachers teaching those who need extra support.

FWIW, my dd was taught phonics by a TA all through reception and left a fluent reader, as did several of her classmates.

It's all a bit daunting/confusing when they start reception, isn't it?

Foxbiscuitselection Mon 03-Nov-14 23:51:00

The TA will be able to teach phonics just as well as a teacher. It's such such an easy thing to teach and TA's are well qualified. Infact most of the TA's in my boys class are fully qualified teachers

dogtanianandthe3muskehounds Mon 03-Nov-14 23:51:02

Read Write Inc is a very specific programme that requires children to be grouped very narrowly according to their ability with phonics. Groups are generally much smaller than a normal class size and comprised of children of different ages. Because the group sizes are smaller, it is expected that it will be delivered by both teachers and TAs. All will have received the same training and it is a very formulaic programme with extremely detailed instructions for the adults delivering it. The groups change fairly often so it is likely that your child will be taken by another adult, possibly a teacher, in a few weeks.
Hope that helps.

catkind Tue 04-Nov-14 00:20:22

DS does his phonics with a TA in year 1. She's brilliant, he loves her, very happy with that. Especially if it means it's a bit more differentiated.

cassgate Tue 04-Nov-14 08:13:18

I am a ta and am perfectly able to teach phonics. It's not rocket science. I even do my own planning for my intervention groups. I have groups that range from phase 3 to phase 6. I can teach maths as well believe it or not and yesterday looked at some level 6 work with my daughter. She was confused with a concept she had been taught in class and I went through it with her.

Bordersmummy Tue 04-Nov-14 08:22:54

Thanks for this. It is all very reassuring. I didn't mean to suggest that the TA isn't capable of doing so, but being new to being a school parent (8 weeks in), I don't know what is and isn't normal, so it is good to know that this isn't unusual. I do know that they are not mixing age groups yet (so all the groups are just reception children). We had a parents' evening just before half term so we won't have another for a while and this grouping thing was not mentioned then.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 04-Nov-14 10:13:13

I think quite a lot of schools do this, both mine were taught phonics in the whole class, new sound every day until they had got through 44 or whatever there are. Mine found it quite dull because they were fluent readers already but it at least reinforced everything for them.

I wouldn't worry about it being a TA, my mum was a teacher and in her experience many TAs could have wiped the floor with some of the teachers....

hollie84 Tue 04-Nov-14 12:08:27

It's normal, TAs run lots of groups under the direction of the teacher.

bearwithspecs Wed 05-Nov-14 22:49:34

Like fox most of our TAs are actually qualified teachers or aspiring teachers. The rest are very good at teaching phonics etc

mrz Thu 06-Nov-14 06:30:00

Having lots of groups is a feature of RWI and I know many teachers find this frustrating.Can a TA deliver RWI well? It depends if they have been trained or left to get on with it ... the same would apply to a fully qualified teacher.

odyssey2001 Thu 06-Nov-14 08:43:27

This is normal at most schools and quite often TA's are better trained / more experienced in delivering phonics, or at least on an equal footing with teachers.

Accept it and be pleased that the school has the smarts to split up children into smaller groups for the teaching of phonics.

mrz Thu 06-Nov-14 19:09:17


KittyandTeal Thu 06-Nov-14 19:11:43

Phonics and read, write inc is not particularly challenging.

It's very common for TAs to lead phonics groups.

TAs that have been in eyfs or ks1 for a while can often be more skilled in phonics than teachers new to the age range.

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