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covering classes

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by kanddd, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. Jude, there is nothing at all illegal about TA's taking classes. NOTHING.
  2. I did not realise what a hornets nest I would open when I asked the question. Jude I really feel you must live in a different world to the majority of teaching assistants. It it very difficult for us to say NO. At present the TAs in the school who cover, are in contact with the unions as to exactly what we are meant to do. I am 'covering' a class tomorrow and the TA who normally works in there has been told that was asked to do some admin at that time. I had to go to the teacher and tell him that I was expecting to have the TA working with the child she normally works with on a one to one. He said that would not be happening and so i went to the deputy head and told her that i would not cover unless i had the ta. she went and changed the teachers mind.
  3. Jude Of course this situation is not illegal! It was the govt's answer to the problem of giving teachers, especially those in primary schools, PPA time without proper funding. Of course some schools used this as an opportunity to use TAs in the case of staff absence for other reasons! Some schools (like mine) employ additional p/t teachers for PPA- some schools employ specialist instructors in Art, PE, Dance, Music etc- some -who obviously do not have the level of parental scrutiny we do- employ level 1 TAs -often in pairs! Is this right? Many would not think so- but it is not, unfortunately, illegal- and, probably, most prevelant in schools where parents are least involved and the children most needy.
  4. Hi
    I am writing a paper for my Cert Ed specialism. I am looking at the ways Teaching Assistants are used in school, primary and secondary. I am obviously interested in the misuse of this precious resource. I would be very interested in anyone's comments. I want positive feedback as well as any other points you may wish to use.
    I began life as a teaching assistant, HLTA, Assessor,Senior Support Worker, and finally taken the plunge to become a tutor in FE teaching Teaching Assistants.

  5. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    There is alot of postings on Supply Teachers and Cover Supervisors Forums about covering lessons for teachers for .........
    1. PPA time
    2. Sickness up to 3 days (some cases much longer)
    3. Emergency
    4. Timetables - regfular slot
    5. Teaching or Supervising
    6 Tasks being asked beyond supervision
    7. and many many more................

    I am surprised that there are not more TAs taking the HLTA qualifcations to enable them to take on teaching of classes. What proportion of HLTAs actually cover a teachers PPA time instead of cover supervisors?
    I would like to hear from TAs and HLTAs about the situation of PA time and Cover Supervisors tasks in comparison to their own.

  6. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Whatr I am aiming at is....
    Why do Cover Supervisors not have a qualification like a HLTA qualification and why those with that qualifcation are not applying for Cover Supervisor positions where they could actually teach a class instead of supervising it.
    OR is it a salary issue?
    Should HLTAs along side Supply Teachers, be concerned that Cover Supervisors are doing, what HLTA and Supply Teachers are trained and qualified to do?

  7. Why do Cover Supervisors not have a qualification like a HLTA qualification?
    Because HLTA is more often than not unrecognised and therefore carries no increase in salary. The role of Cover Supervisor however does carry a higher wage.....wheres the incentive?

    Why those with that qualifcation are not applying for Cover Supervisor positions where they could actually teach a class instead of supervising it?
    Probably because they love the job of being a teaching assistant, but the current climate forces them to cover classes and they (being conscientious) want to do it to the best of their ability.
  8. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Higher wage................ no qualifications...........................I still don't know why more Higher Level Teaching Assistants are not applying for the posts............... when they have the teaching experience and qualifications behind them surely its a step up the ladder and schools would be better off with pupils getting some level of teaching.
  9. Jude, I completely agree with you! As a TA, mother and grand-mother!!!! Teachers should "teach." I like to think teachers are teaching my grandchildren. Some TAs that teach have no degree and are being paid £8 per hour - It is not fair on the children or the TA!!!!
  10. I think that somebody needs to point out that HLTA is <u>NOT</u> a qualification; it is a status. To gain it, one has to demonstrate and provide evidence that one is consistently working at that 'higher level'.
    Although HLTA's can (and do) plan and deliver lessons,to children we generally know very well, we are not trained teachers, but are in many cases being used as such simply because we are much cheaper than Supply Teachers.
    We don't apply for Cover Supervisor positions because it's cheaper to use TA's or HLTA's than it is to pay Cover Supervisors, so very few primary schools (my own area of experience) actually have a Cover Supervisor post.
  11. pennyforyourthoughts - I achieved the HLTA status last year after 16 years as a TA. However, whilst I had to take six lessons on my own to tick that particular box, I had no teacher or classroom management training of any sort beforehand. This idea of yours that HLTAs have teaching experience appears to be a general misconception. We more likely have classroom experience, which is a different thing entirely! Incidentally I hated it and would not wish to teach whole classes if I could avoid it. Also incidentally I am not paid as an HLTA despite having all the other skills necessary.
  12. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Sorry, but this seems to be completely mixed-up to me - HLTAs are assessed as being competent to teach classes for short times (in my LEA, a maximum of 6 sessions (half-days) a week has just been brought in, a doubling of previous maximum) whereas a Cover Supervisor is allowed to do just that - cover a class by supervising work planned and left by a teacher. No Cover Supervisors should be planning, preaparing or assessing pupil's work.
    If HLTAs were paid the appropriate (and recommended) levels of pay they would, quite rightly, cost more than a Cover Supervisor.
    I wouldn't apply for a CS post because it would mean a drop in wages in addition to being a much less satisfying job than that of HLTA. However, I am very well aware that I am in a small minority in being employed in the role and at the rate of pay which was intended for HLTAs by the original Workforce Remodelling Agreement - it was not, as so many people seem to believe, anything at all to do with the implementation of PPA time for Primary school teachers.

  13. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Sorry - the above post was supposed to include this quote and was in response to it!
  14. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Thank you for your replies everyone.
    My arugument is:
    Cover Supervisors have no nationally recognisable qualifcation: That is ....no government recognised form of training or assessment of their abilities for which they can be accredited with a certificate to indicate to employers and to Teaching Agencies that they are deemed able to be a Cover Supervisor. UNLIKE ............
    Teaching Assistants and Higher Level Teaching Assistants who are trained and assessed to government standards and certificated to indicate to employers their level of qualification.
    How can Agencies say they can supply Cover Supervisors with confidence without a certification as evidence. Schools could be getting just anyone who the Agencies pull in to place on their books.
    What are the criteria that Agencies have in place to guarantee that these supply cover supervisors are suitable............... and WHY are schools taking them..... not knowing if they have had training or if they say they have............... what was it and was it to a level that the schools would approve of....
    AM I THE ONLY ONE BEING OVER CONCERNED HERE ........................?
    IS IT A PROBLEM FOR OTHERS........................
    I'm sure parents would be if they knew about it.
  15. I have been a TA for about six years now (part time) in the same primary school and have absolutely no qualifications relative to the post at all. If I applied to another school, would there be a minimum qualification I would be expected to hold to be taken seriously?
  16. Cover Supervisors do not do the same job as HLTAs and supply staff. At least, they are not meant to, but sometimes there is a huge grey area.
    I am a TA and also a CS......this means that I can go into school on a normal day in Y3 to support my usual charges and attend to whatever interventions I have flagged for the day, but, as soon as I arrive, I am told I am in year 6 because the teacher is on a course/is ill/is otherwise employed/has gone mad/or is dead!
    The point here, is that I often have no prior knowledge.......no lesson plans......and no time to get myself in gear.
    The plus side is that in a normal school unavoidable things happen and CSs are dragged into play.
    In essence, this is a workable solution because TAs like myself (years as a TA ...done the CS course and able to face most school occurencies with equanimity) can morph into the 'I'm here because your teacher is not' role quite easily, because we understand the setup and can apply the accepted rules. Little Harry, who thinks it might be fun to tell the supply that Wet Play equipment includes the cup stacking equipment, strategically left in the classroom for an after school club, will stand no chance with a wily CS entrenched in the classroom.
    When I walk into a class, I am supposed to have prior knowledge of my tasks for the day....I should have planned work which I explain and give out. Once done, I collect it in and sort out the next part of the school day.
    The scheme goes wrong because often no work has been planned and we are left to 'just do an input' about whatever or 'share the results' or 'do some sketching', or something else that is often an open invitation for children to misbehave because they instantly realise that 'this' is not important work. This is not the fault of the CS - it falls squarely and rightly at the feet of the teaching staff who can't be bothered or havn't found time to leave the requisite work. Some teachers are good at doing their part - and the CS job works well. Any CS worth her salt will have resources to hand for the other times......but we all get caught out and then the job is a nightmare.
    I am not paid what an HLTA is paid - they 'teach' but CSs apparently do not. At least, that is the theory of it all. I am certainly not paid what supply teachers are and yet I have been in classes where they have 'taught' endless comprehension and handwriting practice followed by times tables and mental maths practice, most of which has been set up and overseen by myself on a paltry TA pay. And I interpret the plans and find the text books....explain the groupings, and give an overview of the day....I find the equipment and go on a hunt for the TV and a workable DVD player (not forgetting the DVD itself which has gone missing.) And then I am asked (in something close to panic) "Are you in class after dinner?"
    Annoyingly I hear myself saying "I'm normally out in the afternoons but I can stay in class if you wish." Because this is the teacher after all and she is able to direct my day. So I don't deliver my programmes because I was needed in class, but I go home with my &pound;7/8 an hour as opposed to &pound;70/100/150 a day for the teacher?
    The CS job is a good idea.......it only works if the normal teacher gives notice of when cover is to occur and when work is left and time is given to explain what the children are expected to do.
    If parents are angered by the CS usage, it ought to be because of the mismanagement of the role not because the role itself is unworkable.
    In my own view, CSs should be paid more than they are.....they are often left holding a very short straw indeed!
  17. Please don't tell me how to spell 'occurrences'.....I know I did it wrong. I should have previewed my post.
  18. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    If you are a TA then I assume you have been employed because a child has been statemented and a TA (yourself) has been employed to work with that pupil one to one for the hours agreed by the LEA.
    We all know that this often does not happen and that TAs time and individual pupils time is diluted in the classroom. Again a loop hole that schools seem to think is ok. One to one should mean one to one.
    NOW HLTAs are being asked to TEACH, ....... what happens to the child/children that should be getting one to one teaching assistance? TAs are in a worse position than the teacher .... being left with child or children in the class that have no help and could easily leave the class more difficult to manage because of it.
    If you are a parent of child that is statemented..... Ask are they getting the hours that has been agreed.................? If not why not................ it may well be because of the above.

  19. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    In my 15-year career as a TA and an HLTA I have never been employed to work on a one-to-one basis - this does seem to be a common misapprehension about the role.
    In the days before we were all called Teaching Assistants people in a one-to-one role were called Integration Assistant in our LA (I know this varied from area to area.) At that time funding was specifically given for children on the top level of the SEN register but there were always TAs employed in most schools in our LA who were not paid from this source.
    I do know that there were some LAs where non-SEN TAs were not employed but I must admit I didn't think this was still the case now.
  20. Is it really against the law? I ask because recently I was asked to cover a whole class(it was an emergency - I have only done it twice in 3 years) but during the lesson a girl collapsed! Luckily I am first aid trained and handled the situation fine but what if it had gone terribly wrong? Would I really have been held responsible? This has scared me now!

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