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1-1 Teaching Assistant? or classroom Teaching Assistant?

(24 Posts)
Alwaysme123 Sun 23-Sep-12 22:22:12

Please could somebody help me? I have funding for my son HOORAY!!!
BUT how do i know that he is getting his 1-1 help in the classroom? it seems his TA helps all the children in the class... when iv picked up on this before it was denied and said that she cannot ignore the other children when they want help...
Of course i understand this however surely that means she isnt concertrating on helping my son who has specific learning difficulties?
I have a meeting tomorrow and would really like to get it ironed out.. please please any suggestions on how i can put my point across without sounding like a broken record????

bochead Sun 23-Sep-12 23:24:26

If it helps I'm wondering this as apparently mine is too busy to do a home-school diary this year, it took 3 weeks to get a timetable printed, no reading book yet & various other issues. None on their own that seem like much but added together have me thinking wtf is DS's TA doing all day if she can't make a couple of comments in his H-S diary even?

She also seems to have been forbidden to speak to me (I had to hunt her down just to say "Hi I'm wee Boc's Mum" 2 weeks in).That in itself is well dodgy in my eyes. DS's told me she's not around each day after lunch for an hour or so. Lunch/back to classroom is a major transition point of the day and things haven't been going well in the playground for him this term. That's 5 hours shaved off the 22 his statement states, yet noone's told me?

MY LA will be aiming to cut his support as soon as the annual review comes along. He's not bolting from the building at every available opportunity nowadays, but is still approx 3 years behind academically with a way to go on the social skills. I feel like I'm the only one that cares.

'm worried that they are starting to build their case for reducing his support behind my back. The LA has "form" for this type of trick to the point where I know SENCO's that have taken early retirement or left out of frustration in other schools. (Not everything that happens in a school is the choice of the staff, they are driven sometimes by he who pays the piper iykwim).

Totally fed tbh cos I feel like I'm busting a gut with him at home, and without any sort of friendly reciprocation you end up wondering why you are bothering to send em to school except to let them see their friends. I'm not seeing the educational benefit of it at all, as his progress with reading etc has slowed right down since he went back.

I actually have to talk to the SENCO about something else entirely but I'm going to bring it up as soon as I can get a meeting with her. I'll put my request for a meeting in writing, and watch developments like a hawk this term cos what else can you do?

Alwaysme123 Sun 23-Sep-12 23:34:22

i just dont understand how we can find out.. when i ask my son did mrs help him today he replies well no mum cos she was helping george, harry, etc lunchtimes are suppposed to be supervised but apparently he informs me tht she goes for her lunch,,, and no one watches him....

tbh i feel awful for feeling that i have to check up... but if i dont how do we know???????

mymatemax Mon 24-Sep-12 09:36:55

By funding do you mean a statement?
If so look very carefully at the wording in part3.

Does it say X should be supported by an adult on a 1 to 1 basis in the classroom at all times?
Or does it say X should have access to support on an individual or small group basis?

A couple of examples but huge difference in what is/should be guaranteed.
Ask the school if the TA has been employed exclusively to support your son or is she the class TA?
If the TA is supposed to be there exclusiely for your son & the class are demanding of her time then the school should be providing an additional classroom support.
If the school are not providing what the LEA have said he should be getting then go back to the LEA & insist they provide the correct level of support.

bochead Mon 24-Sep-12 10:18:19

Mine is wriiten to make damn sure the statement says ASD trained TA is exclusive to my son 1:1 - been down the solicitors, tribunal route to ensure that it is so. If she's not even in the room she's not there for him is she? Hence why I'm feeling so fed up (though the weather is prob a contributory factor too wink.

mymatemax Mon 24-Sep-12 12:20:42

Sounds like its back to the LEA then if you are confident that the school are not impliementing his statement.
Why do they make it so hard... it really shouldnt & needn't be this difficult.. b*stards!

bochead Mon 24-Sep-12 12:40:08

You've hit the nail on the head as to why I'm feeling fed up. It'd be nice to have 6 months ticking along without being FORCED to be pushy, he's 3 years behind academically so not like there isn't plenty to do!

Tiredmumno1 Mon 24-Sep-12 13:32:04

I am having a similar problem, just wondering if anyone could shed a bit of light on a small thing I am not sure I really understand. If in all points of the statement in part 3 it says that the class teacher will devise the work but it is facilitated to my son by a teaching assistant does this mean a one to one teacher? If anyone knows I would be so grateful.

OP as I am having similar problems I don't have much advice other than try getting your ds to tell you when and where he had the help and keep yourself a diary that you could use with the school or LEA with the concerns you have, even though they really don't care most times, I feel a fight coming on and us having to go to tribunal, as you will never get the truth, the schools and LEA like to close ranks angry

mymatemax Mon 24-Sep-12 14:00:53

No if that is the wording it can mean that the classroom TA will support your child.
If there is no specifics in terms of hours of provision & 1to1 support then the school are likely to use the class TA.
How much support your child gets is likely to be determined by the needs & demands of other children in the class & by how disruptive to the teacher you son is without 1 to 1 support.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 24-Sep-12 15:05:08

This is a complicated area. VERY complicated. And why my ds is now in a special school.

He had a TA. Exclusively for him. It was in his statement.

However, this was not what happened in the classroom and it wasn't even for sinister reasons, but poor training of the TA/CT and down to the general culture of the school and understanding of the SENCO etc, as well as resourcing implications.

So, ds struggled with carpet time. He didn't know he was supposed to sit with the other children and listen to the teacher, so he sat amongst them and poked them, and annoyed them. So the teacher sat him at the back with his TA. She also sat other children with behavioural problems at the back so that ds' TA could also keep an eye on them. They pestered ds, and ds retaliated.

Class teacher then implemented a green spot intervention, where they gave ds a round mat to sit on and he wasn't allowed to move any limbs out of that mat. He learnt that rule quickly and effectively and no longer interfered with any of the children. The TA would still sit at the back with them all, but when the children were better behaved, would check on ds and then go and tidy the back of the classroom.

What SHOULD his TA have been doing?

She should be sat with ds at the front of the class (so he wasn't distracted by bobbing heads), training and rewarding him for focussing on the teacher and listening, checking his understanding and then supporting him extend that learning to other environments.

BUT, she was led to believe that inclusion was just about physically being where ds was supposed to be. Her training was thus. She thought that provided he was 'contained' she'd done her job and the class teacher felt the same. They both decided between them, innocently, that to be on top of ds when he was 'managing fine on his green spot' would stifle his independence, and that the TA could be useful in a way that benefited the whole class.

This was perpetuated by their woefully low expectations of ds, which they were encouraged to have due to my 'failure to accept my child's limitations'.

The final influnce was their views that are generally held by teachers that ds' only HAD a TA because he had pushy parents who fought for him and that their conscience could not allow for that TA to ONLY be used for ds when there are other children in the class who could benefit who don't have such MC fighting parents, and it is their job to resource provision for ALL their children.

Now, - you can't fight against this. I tried all kinds of ways. If you told a tribunal that you want the wording of a statement to say 'TA should not do any jobs for the teacher, only focus on the targets of the statement exclusively for the child' they would dismiss you as unreasonable and tell you sternly that if the school say your child has a 1:1 then you have to believe them.

One of the ways around all this above, is to have an ABA tutor, - and it is THIS, I believe, above all else, why ABA is so agressively fought against.

So, my ds is now in a special school. Where he is given the support he needs. Support which I believe could EASILY be given in a ms classroom, - but it just wouldn't be.

bochead Mon 24-Sep-12 15:15:15

Star - you've summed up what's happening perfectly! DS has his annual review this term.

Do I

a/ Send in an ABA bod paid for by the Caudwell Charity for one hour a week to sort it for me. (make current school feel I don't trust em?)

b/ Ask for part 4 to be changed to a private £25,000 a year independent school I like the look of, where he WOULD get the support he needs? (he's happy where he is and it's his 4th educational placement already poor lad).

c/ Move cos I've been fighting this LA 4 years solid now and am exhausted.

I honestly don't know which strategy of the above to follow, all I know is that DS is working at 3 years behind his academic age level with a normal IQ and I want him to catch up for his own self-esteem before secondary.

bochead Mon 24-Sep-12 15:16:16

Meant to say the crux of my disatisfaction is that I want him educated not babysat.

2old2beamum Mon 24-Sep-12 15:26:52

This as others have stated very complex ,DS 's statement said at first a 1-1 which was anyone around then due to "internal squabbling" school involved SENSE (DS deafblind) and statement amended to a personal 1-1 + a back up who have been trained by SENSE. It has been brilliant since (the last 4 years) and this is a SN school. One of the reasons is I am sure cost!! Can't really help but before you lose your rag make sure you have your facts right.
Good luck

starfishmummy Mon 24-Sep-12 15:41:37

DS goes to a special school. He does not have a 1-1, but other children in his class do. They each have a named TA, but sometimes the teacher or one of the general TAs will work with that child so the 1-1 works with the class; so the child still gets individual attention, but at times it won't be with the named TA.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 24-Sep-12 16:51:57

I know Boch. And I'm gutted that my ds isn't in mainstream and denied access to the NT peers that would benefit him. But stubbornly chasing mainstream because it SHOULD work, is something that I no longer felt I could do.

There's no right answer tbh. And whatever you do will be a compromise.

Ilovecake1 Mon 24-Sep-12 17:31:42

I would also make sure that you have 5-10 mins change over every morning and afternoon. During these times we talk about how she has been before coming to school etc and in the afternoon she will tell me what she has done during the day etc. I would also demand that the home school book is done every afternoon.

bochead Mon 24-Sep-12 17:53:54

Your 'aving a laugh at the idea of a change over! Only met the woman at all cos I hunted her down in the middle of the day (that hour when she's supposed to be with my son but isn't - nabbed her in the corridor hee hee).

My Mum suggested a group of us going to collect DS one day armed with binoculars/train spotting anoraks and asking if anyone has seen the "lesser spotted TA" in a very obvious affected "performance art" stylee kinda way.

Trouble is I'm so damn cheeky by nature that if I get frustrated enough it's EXACTLY the sort of thing I'll wind up doing blush. I've asked for a meeting with the SENCO in an attempt to be reasonably sensible first though.

LeeCoakley Mon 24-Sep-12 18:12:26

Bochead - I'm just wondering if your TA is covering lunchtime with your ds and then having her own lunch at a convenient time afterwards. That would be 22 hours.

bochead Mon 24-Sep-12 18:25:30

If she was there wouldn't have been 3 bullying incidents last week that necessitated my going in to get it sorted out with senior staff and having to involve ASD outreach : ( Note - couldn't find classroom TA at all, and instinctively you'd think she'd be the one to raise it with in the first instance.

His statement also states he should have 5 hours lunchtime supervision - that's a different lady I'm told who is now known as the lesser, lesser spotted TA. Its 22 classroom time and 5 hours lunchtime so 27 in total.

By my reckoning he's down 10 straight hours BEFORE we get onto what on earth is happening in class that makes her "too busy" to write a sentence or two in his h/s diary.

It's the use of the remaining 17 hours that I'm now trying to investigate, and where I think Star's points were particularly useful. I also took on board 2old2beamums comments on checking my facts before reloading my pistol for yet another duel. I'm getting no random daily comments from DS on the nature of his TA's blouse buttons or anything - which in itself is very suspicious. Right DS is being very compliant, but he's like a rumbing volcano & I don't want the hassle of an eruption that involves him getting himself into oodles of trouble to draw attention to the issue.

LeeCoakley Mon 24-Sep-12 18:33:19

I see that it's separate. Good luck.

bochead Sat 29-Sep-12 21:44:36

Gentle reminder given to school from lovely visiting professional into observe as to why DS has the support he does set out in his statement seems to have done the trick and hopefully got it sorted.

Why schools refuse to listen to Mums and only hear other profs I will never fully understand, but it is how it is.

However things seem to be in a sensible place now, so I'm just very grateful that this technique worked, & I don't have to gear up for another battle, waste valuable time, or upset DS by removing him to home ed. Also it's all sorted quite soon into the school year.

To the OP & for anyone else in a similar position to mine - if you have the ear of a good prof like an outreach bod, or OT or SALT etc it might be worth asking nicely if they could intervene on your behalf.

sazale Sat 29-Sep-12 23:00:40

Reading this thread has just made it click for me why ds's school have suddenly done a u turn! Up until this week I got the "I get the impression you're anxious" and "it's normal for all year 1 kids to be this anxious about school"! Went into a meeting with senco expecting a big fight for them to acknowledge his difficulties and I had to do nothing as they were throwing provision at us and saying "we realise that he may not appear anxious in school due to coping mechanisms etc etc"! In between the arsey attitude and the meeting the independent salt I've consulted had contacted the senco and asked to go in and observe ds particularly in a phonics session! It's gone from no worries to admitting he's made no progress since starting phonics in F1 (he's now year 1)! I had wondered what had changed and this thread has just made me realise it! Thanks chaps!

ouryve Sat 29-Sep-12 23:11:52

DS2's 1:1 is there as 1:1 purely for him and makes this clear if she find herself at risk of being pulled away from him for too long. Yes, she will work with other kids, in groups with DS2, but not leave him to fend for himself.

DS1's is more flexible, as she's there because of his behaviour. If he's calm, he doesn't want to be crowded, so she does other jobs or helps other kids, always with an eye on him, in case he kicks off. She does lots of other general preparation tasks for the class in the times when DS1 needs time out of the classroom - having a job to do often distracts him out of his current anxiety and he likes to feel important. She's never, ever rotaed into something she can't drop at a moment's notice, though.

ouryve Sat 29-Sep-12 23:16:36

Oh - and when the regular 1:1s are off for lunch or have other things they need to do, there's always backup - at the very least a whole class assistant on hand, so they're never left with just one adult in the room with the whole class. DS1's 1:1 goes for lunch late morning, so transition into his rather more troublesome afternoons can all be dealt with by her.

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