In my school, classes are covered by TAs at the discretion of the head teacher. Apparently TAs do not need any official training or status (HLTA, NVQ3 etc) to do this. During their time of cover they are upgraded to a level 3 TA and paid accordingly, then revert back to their normal level 1-3 grades where they perform their contracted duties. The level 3 is contracted to cover half day PPA per week. I have witnessed many, many hours covered by undertrained (L2NVQ and below)/untrained, inexperienced teaching assistants at what could be seen as 'leaving children educationally disadvantaged'. I fear that some schools sail close to the wind under the heading of 'at the discretion of the HT' if, infact this is the case (is there a defined critera for those who cover classes?) . Although there is the advantage of pots of money being saved! I do not wish to belittle those who do cover classes and what they do, but to misuse this cover can only lead to children not being able to achieve their potential.