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What would you define as "appropriately trained" for a TA?

(58 Posts)
appropriatelytrained Sat 04-Jun-11 12:15:56

I've name changed for this.

We have had no end of bother with DS' statement. It has taken months to get a S&LT porgramme up and running. The TA hired is useless and has no experience/qualifications but worse still doesn't seem to be particularly bothered about DS. She also has an overinflated opinion of herself.

I have complained to the LGO. I actually think that, in addition to the sessions not being set up, the TA has not been 'appropriately trained' to deliver the S&LT sessions as required by his statement.

LA says the definition of 'appropriately trained' is whatever the S&LT thinks the TA needs to deliver the sessions.

Yet, she has had no training at all. Not even an ELKLAN course. She has seen one session modelled by a S&LT. She has never even been a TA before.

I think they are in breach of the statement even if the sessions start until this TA is properly trained. What do you think?

moondog Sat 04-Jun-11 16:13:25

An ELKLAN course would be a good start.
Someone with no qualifications is not necessarily a bad thing-a willingness to work hard and document progress is the most important and that can be taught (the last part at least.)

The most important thing is to ask how the s/lt documents progress day by day, weeek by week and term by term and how she trains the TA to do that so she knows what is going on bewtween her visits, which will be infrequent.

Prepeare to ask some serious questions as most s/lts not trained well enough to do this-a lot of progress is' monitored' via vague subjective word of mouth ('Yes, it's going really well') which mean nothnig and are often designed to do little more than lull the parent into a false sense of security.

Remember all targets must by SMART
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Timely

Focus on MEASURABLE and insist they do too, as they know they should.

hocuspontas Sat 04-Jun-11 16:24:54

How upsetting for you that you feel the TA hasn't engaged with DS that's really important. With regards the training - she and you are lucky she got the 'modelling' session! I've moaned on here before how some of us just get some photocopied sheets chucked at us and are expected to get on with it. sad Unfortunately for £6.00 ph it's not a job trained/qualified people want and really each TA needs specific training for the child. I really hope that by challenging them you get what your ds needs. Good luck.

appropriatelytrained Sat 04-Jun-11 16:37:14

Thanks for your help on this both of you.

I agree Moondog that a lack of appropriate training should not be the end of the world if you have a willing and switched on TA but the problem is that we don't and I don't really see the way around this as it's not as if school will fire her.

Hocus- we only got the modelling session because of my persistence as the TA was basically refusing to do anything as she didn't feel confident. Yet, no matter how much effort is put into supporting her, she seems a dangerous mix of out of her depth and arrogantly confident she has it all under control.

She has been sent on absolutely no courses and has no knowledge of ASD or S&LT so I am not sure how she can even go about measuring progress. Sadly, I also know she is prepared to lie about 'progress' to make herself look good.

So, I am trying to challenge the input and the problems with TA provision by using the 'appropriate training' clause in the statement in the hope that there is at least some more attention to this issue.

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 13:08:33

Moondog, I am trying to draft training requirements in to the statement.

What I could I say you ideally in terms of S&LT training for a TA in terms of being able to deliver and measure progress?

moondog Sun 05-Jun-11 13:11:19

I can't tell you, because frnakly most of the s/lts and teachers who support kids with SEN aren't able to measure progress so they are not in a position to train a low paid and (generally) ill educated TA to do the same.
Depressing but true.

The only way for many to question this is to allow things to go wrong-in other words, allow the year to pass, ask continuous questions about measuremet (or otherwise) of progreess and then kick off if not forthcoming.,

Also depressing but true.

feynman Sun 05-Jun-11 13:31:14

Hi, I'm not sure if it helps but these on my sons statment it says that the 'named ta' should undertake the following courses (if not already done so).
Introduction to Working with Speech and Language Difficulties
Working with Language Difficulties 1
Working with Language Difficulties 2
Working with Speech Difficulties

I beleive these are pretty standard courses but is a start. It is also stated that the named ta will observe all sessions with the SALT, that the salt will set targets, oversee and monitor the programme and I am trying to get 'will provide written feedback to school and parents' written in as well.

I had no problem getting the salt to suggest courses the ta should do, nor any problem getting it written into the statement. If the lea are saying that 'appropriately trained means what the salt suggests, they has the salt suggested anything?

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 13:35:59

Thanks Fenyman. That's helpful. No, the S&Lt were very reticent about doing this as they said it is a matter for the school. However, now the LA has said that they believe the term 'appropriately trained' is a matter for the S&LT I will go back to them.

Another problem is that the S&LT here seemed to think that their only mandate is language difficulties but DS has real problems communicating his needs. They do not seem to want to specifically address this and have said it is a matter for CAMHS!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 05-Jun-11 13:51:20

Our SALT said something similar. She has addressed the speech and language problems aparantly, so has no further role as all ds' difficulties are 'communication' which is down to his ASD.

She says she has no idea how to address this. I have just been sent (courtesy of another MNer, crafting connections) which my ds is slightly to young for but you and your SALT may well find invaluable.

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 13:57:49

Thanks I will have a look at that. I am sure she and school will balk at any further intervention/suggestions from me!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 05-Jun-11 14:08:29

Ah, well, if you can afford it (and lets face it it's probably a fraction of what you have already spent in money and time to get basic needs of your child met) buy it as a 'thank you' christmas present for your SALT as it has only just come out and so far only available in the US.

I cannot imagine for one second he/she would not find it an interesting read at the very least.

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 14:23:33

Ooooh, you are good at this aren't you!!

purplepidjin Sun 05-Jun-11 14:29:23

From a TA point of view, training means precisely f-all if the person doesn't want to learn.

TAing is seen as a nice, easy ride with short hours and little stress. It is paid accordingly (about £7.50 an hour round here) and attracts staff with those attitudes. Unfortunately, if your TA is in it for the money and easy ride, no amount of expensive training courses will persuade her otherwise. It sounds like she is, and her lack of relationship with your dc is more worrying imo.

From experience: I expect myself to be able to calm a stressed child on my first day, possibly not very quickly as I try various different strategies till I get to one that helps! By the time I've known them 3 months, I would expect the child to be coming to me when they're stressed at least some of the time. I would expect to be able to help them calm within one or two strategies, if that makes sense? You can train and train and train, but if the TA isn't the right kind of person has half an ounce of common sense then they're in the wrong job sad

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 15:00:16

I agree purple I do. But what is the solution? I was hoping by applying the pressure in terms of specifying training demands, she might actually just bugger off!

purplepidjin Sun 05-Jun-11 15:17:04

That is one solution, but it's heavy on the old finances for the school/LEA

I would get on her shoulder and keep checking up. As a TA (currently a care worker, got fed up with being treated like shit by teachers who assumed I know nothing after 6 years in the field) I would, as a matter of course, be writing in a home-school diary every day. I suggest you need one of those, but be really bloody picky about it. If she writes "Had a good morning" demand to know what, how and where. Starlight is fantastic with her SMART stuff, so take her advice on that.

For me a half decent entry would be (this one's fictional)

Johnny behaved well when lining up with his class, however Sally bumped into him when they were hanging their coats up and Johnny found this situation challenging. We took some time out to collect and deliver the fruit for the Key Stage 1 classes, and Johnny demonstrated how mature he can be by entering the classrooms respectfully and setting an example for the younger children. He settled into class, and completed his work to an excellent standard with verbal support from staff. He completed 5 maths questions independently and was awarded a merit certificate for his good work.

Etc ad nauseum.

If she's a workshy scrounger, this kind of recording will be far too much like hard work and she'll kick up a fuss. The above might be a little bit on the over-done side, but the information is the kind of thing that is useful (so not a pointless exercise in futility in anyone but your TA's eyes wink)

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 15:27:29

Thanks. I bought a book and asked her to use it for important issues. She never wrote in it, even to tell me a trip had been plan. Hence, DS almost missed the trip.

I pointed this out to the head and now she writes occasional comments, sometimes backdated. But I will pursue this too!

She showed great reluctance to use it and I now know why!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 05-Jun-11 15:38:05

Don't you feel responsible for managing your ds' TA. Complain to the class teacher that this is the second time in a week that the TA hasn't written in the book.

Make sure you write in the book every single day too. Ask pertinent questions in it. Sometimes, ask questions that only the class teacher would know the answer to so that you know the class teacher can occassionally see the book and monitor the quality of her work.

If you are getting no joy, request a CAF for an unmet need, that unmet need being working in partnership with parents.

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 15:44:18

They always moan because they don't think it's confidential to write things in a book and put it in a bag. I shall stick it in a plastic folder in his bag and if she doesn't like putting it in there she can leave it at reception.

She is not there when I collect.

purplepidjin Sun 05-Jun-11 16:49:19

What Starlight said (she knows)

Someone should be feeding back every day. Whether it's the TA, class teacher, whoever. It's basic stuff, no training required. Are you able to check the book while your still in the playground? Then, if there's nothing in it, go to the teacher and ask.

If there was an issue in school, you need to be working with your son at home on how he would handle it to get a better reaction next time he's in the situation. If they're not telling you what the issues are, how is he supposed to learn new strategies for next time? wink

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 17:15:05

Thanks. I will get going with the book then. It will at least be more evidence of how crap she is.

I've actually had moments where I've thought of leaving the school because of her!

It's silly I know but she is a bar to progress but also a sop to those who want to see it as she does nothing but lies about what she's done.

Making it all measurable is the key clearly. Just need to translate this into the statement!

purplepidjin Sun 05-Jun-11 17:46:00

Moving schools might be a good option. It depends on the attitude of everyone else, really. Has she been hired because they're determined to do the absolute best for your child and accidentally picked the wrong person; or has she been hired because they grabbed the nearest teenager who cba to work at a proper job and Mummy/Daddy pulled some strings...

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 18:05:17

It is the first I think. She told them she had a son with Aspergers (which I now doubt to be true as this has changed to 'he's never formally been diagnosed hmm and she seems to know nothing about ASD issues).

School were also very frustrated my her lack of initiative and confidence but have no option but to try and support her if she is saying she is 'overwhelmed'

She is very hostile to me and constantly questions why she needs to do stuff on the statement. She's also lied to me several times.

I have been to the head to make my position clear but it was thought appropriate to give it time to work as the S&LT sessions hadn't started.

Now she seems to be competely full of crap about how she's doing all these wonderful things and there's been so much wonderful progress every time someone comes in. I'm sure it's to cover her own arse.

purplepidjin Sun 05-Jun-11 18:15:59

Ah, I recognise the situation. We've chatted about this before smile (either that or you're in exactly the same boat as someone else on here and on my FB)

I would put a formal complaint in about her. Especially if you can prove that she's lying! Don't feel sorry for her - if she's not up to the job, she should be off sick not fucking up your son's education grin

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 18:20:40

Have chatted here not on FB.

I have written to the LA about the TA's lack of training and how this is compromising the programme and how I think it makes the statementing provision non-compliant with the statement which requires someone to be 'appropriately trained'. I will forward this to the head so that she is aware and I will mention my concerns about things that have been agreed that have not been done and the problems that have arisen which suggest she is out of her depth

I can't unfortunately prove she has been lying so best not to go there.

appropriatelytrained Sun 05-Jun-11 18:40:56

I might just have a quiet word with the SENCO who has acknowledged these problems as she is pretty straight and has had to apologise for the TA several times. It might be just the easiest way to see how best to approach things

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