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SEN TA - should the TA have this SEN training/quals if they are managing the SEN children?

(20 Posts)
TICKLETUMBLE Mon 25-Mar-13 14:10:14

While off sick with the sniffles I started researching the qualifications for TAs.....seems anyone can do a TA course if you have some dosh, dedication to study a the basics and the time...
Fair enough, they work under supervision anyway.

There are SEN TA qualifications too..which look very detailed and would be a boon for any TA dealing with a SEN child....

Should I expect the TA dealing with DS to have something more than the basic NVQ level 2 or 3, and have the SEN specific training....or is that asking too much?

Seriously considering doing it myself just to know what they should know and what they should be looking out for/doing..........AIBU??

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 15:05:55

TAs don't have to have any specific TA qualifications yet, just a reasonable standard of literacy/numeracy and usually experience with children, but certainly I do agree they'd be helpful. (I believe nowadays schools are getting more interested in employing TAs who do have them though.)

If you personally have a child with SEN and you're interested in the course, then yes I'd say it will help to know what's what. In theory schools are required to provide correct support, but sadly in practice I hear a great many parents are left unhappy with what's going on - the better you know what should be happening, the easier you will find it to check that he is getting all he is entitled to. Good luck! smile

EllenJanesthickerknickers Mon 25-Mar-13 18:53:24

If your DC has a statement of SEN, the TA can be specified to be 'qualified' which in my LA means NVQ 2 or equivalent or higher. Be aware, though, that asking for qualified TAs reduces the number of applicants and sometimes the more qualified TAs aren't the best match for the DC. Getting someone who clicks with your DC and is willing to read up on their specific needs can be more important. I say this as a parent to a DC with a statement and as a 1:1 TA. I am qualified, only to NVQ level 2, and couldn't afford to get the higher qualifications. I learnt loads more researching for my DS and going on parents courses than my NVQ, though, even though I took the SEN option. I have learnt even more on MNSN.

My school did send me on ASD courses when I worked with my previous DC. (Again, learnt more on MN but actually quite good.) That may be something to insist upon, as well. Trouble with ASD or other SEN courses is that that they often seem to forget how completely different each DC is and that 'standard SEN approaches' may not work for every DC with SEN or SN.

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 18:55:54

"Trouble with ASD or other SEN courses is that that they often seem to forget how completely different each DC is and that 'standard SEN approaches' may not work for every DC with SEN or SN."

Hear hear EllenJanes!

auntevil Mon 25-Mar-13 19:00:48

Our LEA has a difference between TAs and LSAs. LSAs have to attend far more SEN related training than regular TAs - and are given PPA to prepare resources shock

EllenJanesthickerknickers Mon 25-Mar-13 19:06:00

Wow, auntevil! My time is all completely accounted for working directly with the DC. Any resources etc are done in my own time.

EllenJanesthickerknickers Mon 25-Mar-13 19:08:03

Teachercreature, nice to get a teacher's view as well. smile

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 19:23:01

EllenJanes thanks - my last school was incredibly supportive of special needs and I had a great SENCo who taught me a lot, but even after ten years in the classroom I am very conscious that I am still learning!

EllenJanesthickerknickers Mon 25-Mar-13 19:55:19

Oh yes! Every day is a school day! grin I'm very glad I discovered MN a couple of years ago, it's been my best resource so far.

auntevil Mon 25-Mar-13 20:51:17

But even having autism support coming in to advise on specific cases, they seem very prescriptive.
Isn't it weird how the people who know the children best, and what makes them tick(or tock) , thy are still the people that seem to be listened to least?

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 21:20:54

EllenJanes yep exactly! smile And Google is my friend too!

auntevil no I've never understood that one either! Just like I don't understand why some schools can't see that the parent of an SEN child is often the best person to talk to as well...

LuvMyBoyz Mon 25-Mar-13 23:18:31

If a school has an ASD pupil then I would expect the TAs involved with the pupil and also the staff to have some form of awareness raising at the very least. And ALL staff need to be involved in said training because they are bound to come across the pupil at some point eg cover, duty, after school club, on the corridors. I feel gutted about some of the parents' accounts I have read whilst lurking around here and applaud Teachercreature's wisdom.

auntevil Mon 25-Mar-13 23:35:51

The thing is LuvMyBoyz is that a lot of schools give all staff 'training' in autism, and get very reputable organisations involved. This in turn gives the staff a feeling that they 'know' autism, they do not. They know some of the common strategies that can work in some instances. It does not mean that they are prepared , or have the patience to put what is learnt, however basic, into practise.

TICKLETUMBLE Tue 26-Mar-13 06:55:30

Thanks for the feedback...........DS does not have a statement yet...working with school to get the best package of info together to request one.

I totally agree that the TA needs to connect and be empathic to the child, and treat them individually ...........which may be my main issue really. If they dont connect that well (and I dont have a choice in who is allocated to provide 1:1 to DS) then maybe previous knowledge/training will give them something more to work with rather than just doing what they are instructed to do by the CT or Senco...............there are certainly some who 'get' DS and others that dont.....the ones that done are the worry...

lougle Tue 26-Mar-13 07:00:51

I'm a Governor at a special school and sometimes interview for LSAs. There have been many occasions when the best candidate on paper has not been the best candidate in reality.

LSAs who work with children at special schools need to be flexible, adaptable, able to think on their feet, able to work in a team, willing to learn from the children they work with and put the child first in whatever they are doing.

Everything else is just detail. If you have worked with a child with SN/ASD, you have experience of that child. The worst thing in the world is someone who has some experience with a condition and thinking themselves an expert on it.

Some of the best LSAs we've had came with nothing but a passion for children with SN and a willingness to get stuck in and learn.

lougle Tue 26-Mar-13 07:06:22

Having said that, DD1's school is absolutely fantastic at training. They have INSET days devoted to sensory training, behavior management, etc.

TICKLETUMBLE Tue 26-Mar-13 08:36:50

Thanks for that Lougle.
I just want the most effective, well informed , observant, empathic, proactive and capable person with the resources and knowledge of how to help DS to be put in place to help DS - whether that be down to pure natural vocational capability, experience, training and/or combinations of all of these.

I imagine after diagnosis and/or statementing (if that gets the go ahead) then I have more clout to demand experience and training for the staff....

2old2beamum Tue 26-Mar-13 10:25:52

Lougle totally agree with you the best qualified on paper is not necessarily best for the child.
DS is at SS and has 1-1, I am sure she is dyslexic and has few formal qualifications but she is the best thing that has happened to our son. She has learnt on the job and is a brilliant intervener and is so keen to learn.
Whatever your qualifications are you learn most on the job, every child is very different!

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 11:24:11

Agree entirely here. Training is always a good start - but it must be remembered it is just that. You definitely learn more on the job, and no matter how much experience of a condition you may have another child with same condition can have totally separate needs (again, why you need to talk to the parents - the good news being the government have finally recognised this and are hopefully bringing in changes.) And LuvmyBoyz you're 100% right, the parents' accounts on Mumsnet are often just heartbreaking.

TICKLETUMBLE I hope you find just the right person both with training and empathy! Bear in mind too that sometimes in schools one person attends training on a condition and then shares that info with all the staff, which is wise since they are going to encounter children they don't personally teach too. Official qualifications definitely aren't everything so try not to worry if your DS's TA doesn't have any. And yes, after diagnosis etc you should find it easier to discuss your DS's needs with the school - wish you the very best of luck with it all!

LuvMyBoyz Wed 27-Mar-13 06:10:03

Best wishes, Tickletumble. X

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