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Dissertation Help! Changing role of TA, Professional development, HLTA, Performance management.

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by emma11550, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Hi, i'm busy doing my dissertation and would find different peoples views very interesting, especially from different LAs. I've posted a lot of questions feel free to answer as few or as many as you can/want. Thanks x
    How many years had you worked as a TA?
    Which year groups do you work with?
    How has your role changed?
    Do you feel that the amount of pay you receive reflects the amount of responsibility you have within your setting?
    Do you feel valued by your setting?
    Do you value performance management sessions? Have they impacted on your professional development.
    Would you consider training to a higher level? why/why not?
    What do you think the benefits are of using HLTAs rather than supply to cover teachers absence/PPA?

     
  2. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    1. 15 years
    2. 3, 4, 5 and 6
    3. As an HLTA there is more 'official' responsibility for planning, delivering and assessing lessons for whole classes - some people seem surprised that a level of this has always gone on - I regularly 'taught' half a class in my very first job - though following teacher's planning, not my own - and have always been required to do some 'emergency' cover of a whole class for short absences (eg one lesson.) I was already regularly 'covering' a whole class once a week (for which planning was usually non-existent) before being assessed for HLTA in 2005. However, my role has changed with different heads, and I am sure that many TAs will have experiecned this too - there have been fluctuations in my level of responsibility over my whole career.
    4.. I am paid at an appropriate level for the job I currently do - but I am well aware that I am very much in a minority in this!
    5. Again this has varied over the years - under a previous head I felt 100% valued and this was shown quite openly in how my role was presented both within our school and the wider community - I had considerable responsibilities which some other heads found very difficult to accept! When the current head arrived I was treated like the 'traditional' TA from many years ago - a bit of a shock to the system, to be honest! It has taken me a long time to get him to begin to recognise how inefficiently I was being used - at the moment I feel that we are getting back on track a little but it has been a very difficult journey for all the TAs at our school and I believe that it is to do with the attitudes in the neighbouring LEA our head previously worked in, which has never fully appreciated the value of a TA (possibly because they have employed unqualified, inexperienced staff who would work for low wages and not complain about being exploited.)
    6. Performance Management is only as good as the SMT member doing it! It can be useful and I do feel the discussions are valuable - this is when TAs get the opportunity to point out where their CPD needs/interests lie - but I have deep concerns about Performance-Related Pay as TAs so often work with children who will not achieve academically and could therefore be seen as not reaching school targets. Overall, I'm not sure that PM has impacted on my personal CPD - I tend to go to the head and say what training I want/need and then find what is available myself. I am quite happy to continue going through the process as long as teachers do.
    7. No - if I had wanted to be a teacher I would have done it 30+ years ago, or at a later stage when it was suggested to me - too much paperwork, too many targets, too little time to actually get to know the childrren in your class. I am also now too old and happy with my level of pay.
    8. Fairly obviously, knowing the school, behaviour policies, knowing the children, (often very well), familiarity with routines, the building etc. etc. Consistency for the children (who know they can't try and get away with things with someone who knows them well) and consistency of delivery - using the same language and strategies as the class teacher. I could never be a supply teacher, it is such a hard job and I really admire those who do it well, and those who are wise enough to use TAs to help them. In my LEA it is not a money-saving choice, nor do I take away any supply work from qualified teachers - we have regular supply teachers in school.
    Good luck with the dissertation - hope this is of some help!

     
  3. Thank you for your reply. Great to get another point of veiw. The responses i had from my questionnaires were very similar as the participants all worked in similar schools and LEAs. Thanks x
     
  4. bluebell27

    bluebell27 New commenter

    I have been a TA for 18 years three years in social services (family centre) working with both children and families and the rest at my present school. When I first started the head teacher did not value the contribution TAs could make so always worked with the less able out of class most of the week thus these children were often excluded from their peers and being taught by class teachers. TAs were not considered to be part of the school team as such and were never invited to staff meetings so very often didn't know what was going on in school until the very last minute.
    BUT...... After head retired the new head who had come from a very inclusive school changed the ethos of the whole school. The first thing he changed was asking TAs to attend staff meetings.
    Children were educated within class alongside their peers and TAs supported all children not just low ability.
    Teachers often say they appreciate they are very lucky in the quality of support they receive from TAs but I would say it works both ways and because of this we all work as a team
    The ethos in my school is that anyone with new ideas/ initiatives is encouraged to bring these ideas to head's attention so TAs often run after school clubs/ organise activites for healthy school week and other areas in school.
    My role is varied. I have worked in all classes including the nursery which is good as you appreciate the different levels of development within a school. I am largely based in Key stage 1 now and work with a fantastic team of teachers and other TAs. I train new TAs/ students, have a responsibility for ICT so am one of two members of staff that is on the curriculum planning team for ICT. We have just revised the ICT curriculum in line with the new primary framework and we are all working from this plan now.
    I train all staff in ICT either in staff meetings or on a one to one basis if requested and liaise with the local authority technician in regard to out network and lap tops.
    I run an after school ICT club [as you might have guessed ICT is my specialised area that I have trained . The other area is lots of training in speech and language after support a child for 7 years with no speech.
    I haven't gone down the HLTA route but am getting very near to the end of an Open University degree in childhood and Youth studies which has been based on working with children and families, inclusion, childhood and currently research with children so a very varied CPD that helps me in my work. School pay half my fees and encourage me to use my new skills as needed in school. As I am a school governor I am also involved in drafting policies before taking them for discussion to staff meetings.
    I also support individual children with emotional needs so an currently facilitating a circle of friends for one child and doing small group activites based on the SEAL small group work with another child[and peers]
    I have great respect for all teachers but would never want to do their job. I feel my role is better spent supporting small groups individuals and I see that as a valuable role rather than a disadvantage. What I intend to do once I have my degree is to complete a nationally recognised play therapy course which I shall put to use in my role as A TA or may take it further. I haven't decided that far yet.

    As for pay I like the previous poster am very lucky in that I am on an appropriate wage which I consider to be very good. Again I work in a LA that is fair and has always paid well [But that will change with job evaluation}

    All staff teachers and TA have a CPD meeting with the head teacher once a year where we set our self targets or head will set them for some we discuss our previous years targets where he will ask how do we know they have been met or what got in the way of not achieving them. so very practical and relevant to us personally. For instance when I was asked to help with setting up the school website on top of all my other ICT tasks I was able to negotiate half a day per week to achieve this. so once a week I now work on ICT rather than in the class.
    so a lot of changes for me for all for the better I would say.
    Good luck with dissertation I have a big research project to do in September!
    Bluebell
     
  5. Hi Good luck with your dissertation.
    I've been a TA for 13 years always in reception. The role has changed over the years, now do far more teaching and working with small groups in the class. I often find it a struggle to find time to do the admin tasks such as displays, sharpening pencils etc I do cover for reception for PPA, although I'm not a HTLA and neither are any of my colleagues who also cover PPA. PPA was a change in my job which I didn't want. The extra pay for it is pathetic, it amounts to an extra 20p per hour, so not much for the responsibility. Despite the pay, I do feel valued by my setting and the class teacher. I do have other roles in the school, I run a breakfast club with another colleague which I really enjoy and also the library. I don't feel the pay reflects what I do but its much better than it was when I first started.

    We have performance management, I have learnt extra skillls from it over the years, but still feel its a paper exercise and I would have learnt those skills in another way. I wouldn't train to a higher level as there are very few positions available in the county I live in and extra qualifications are not rewarded by any extra pay. Also the cost involved would be too much. Hope this helps.
     
  6. How many years had you worked as a TA? 9 years
    Which year groups do you work with? 2,3,4,5,6
    How has your role changed? I am a SEN TA, I have found that with children that are unable to access the curriculum I am now differentiating the tasks and supplying the tasks for the children I work with. In the past all work was set by the teacher but this seems to have changed for children working at much lower levels. I also keep a lot of records for the children I work with instead of feeding back to the Teacher. When I first started it was a TA's job to support the teacher within the classroom, this has moved on to spending a lot of time outside of the classroom. We are given copies of planning now rather than being directed by the teacher within the classroom. We are included in whole school inset day training and have a career route thanks to CPD.
    Do you feel that the amount of pay you receive reflects the amount of responsibility you have within your setting? Quite simply no!
    Do you feel valued by your setting? Yes I work in a very supportive environment and can share any concerns or worries quite freely and also make suggestions for improvement.
    Do you value performance management sessions? Have they impacted on your professional development.
    Would you consider training to a higher level? why/why not? There are no HLTA positions available at my school and as I love the environment wouldn't really consider moving on so haven't considered HLTA training. I have had training up to the level 3 NVQ, and participate regularly in training relevant to my role.
    What do you think the benefits are of using HLTAs rather than supply to cover teachers absence/PPA? It depends on what is being asked. For an HLTA to cover short PPA time, the lessons would need to be considered but for absences it could be considered a cheap alternative. It would depend on the length of absence and the lessons needing cover and also what planning was available to deliver the lessons.
     
  7. How many years had you worked as a TA? 21

    Which year groups do you work with? General TA work with Yrs 4/5 currently. Have worked with all year groups though.

    How has your role changed? Am now very much part of the normal routine helping with Literacy and Numeracy. Am fortunate to work with a teacher who uses me to work with all groups, not just the less able.Am trusted to use my initiative too. Can't remember when I last cleaned paint pots!!

    Do you feel that the amount of pay you receive reflects the amount of responsibility you have within your setting? Am a HLTA and am paid a HLTA rate for all my hours which reflects my experience and knowledge.(See last question though)

    Do you feel valued by your setting? Yes

    Do you value performance management sessions? Have they impacted on your professional development. If I was nearer the beginning of my career they would have more impact on me personally. I am in my mid 50s now and have no intention of studying anymore. However I am helping the school create multi-cultural links and work to help the school in general.

    Would you consider training to a higher level? why/why not? Am now a HLTA

    What do you think the benefits are of using HLTAs rather than supply to cover teachers absence/PPA? The main benefits are that we know the children and also the teachers' expectations. We can maintain continuity. We should only be used short term though. WE ARE NOT QUALIFIED TEACHERS. I can never understand why parents' didn't complain when the HLTA status came in. For me personally it is great, but as a parent I would have at least questioned it.
    As mentioned above HLTAs in my school are all paid at the HLTA rate. However the down side to this is that we cover for all courses and one/two day sickness. It can be that we teach more in a week than teachers as we only receive occassional PPA time to plan and mark. This has become easier in the last few months as another TA has become a HLTA, and we complained....

    Hope this has been of some help. Ask away if you want anymore information.

    Good luck!![​IMG]

     
  8. How many years had you worked as a TA? 2 1/2

    Which year groups do you work with? last year and a half i've worked with years 7-11, previously adults with learning disabilities.
    How has your role changed? when working with adults, i was involved in general support throughout the class, and i worked in all lessons. now i work with specific students in different lessons, and also take withdrawal groups of 3-4 SEN students for science and literacy.

    Do you feel that the amount of pay you receive reflects the amount of responsibility you have within your setting? yes, i am fortunate enough to work in a LEA (nottingham city) who pays a decent wage...
    Do you feel valued by your setting? yes. teachers and senior management respect and value the TAs and our work.
    Do you value performance management sessions? Have they impacted on your professional development? yes - i have 1:1 sessions with my SENCo every year to discuss targets for the following year (e.g. to complete NVQ3, to set up withdrawal groups in science, attend a manual handling course etc). this makes me feel more like a professional and less like a paint-pot-washer! i have attended courses paid for by school (catch-up literacy training, SEN in PE, and the role of a specialist science TA) and the TAs as a team are encouraged to do so.
    Would you consider training to a higher level? why/why not? not at present. i have NVQ3, which is sufficient for the level at which i am currently working.
    What do you think the benefits are of using HLTAs rather than supply to cover teachers absence/PPA? primarily, knowledge of the students and the school's systems (e.g. sanctions and rewards).


    hope this helps :eek:)
     
  9. cupofteacher

    cupofteacher New commenter

    How many years had you worked as a TA?
    Since September full time, but on a temp basis 3 years before that.
    Which year groups do you work
    with?

    I have worked with ALL ages, I started in a special school on a temp basis where I was placed in primary and nursery, I then statred doing more in secondary and now work in mainstream secondary. i focus on KS3 but do work with all ages.

    How has your role changed?

    I started off as a temp working with an agency, I then secured a full time job which has meant I can take on more responsibility. I quickly offered to become involved in extra curricular activities, and now I also teach some lessons. this is partly due to the fact i am doing my GTP in september, but I think I would still have been involved in adopting more teaching anyway! I am also a carer at my school....I do things like physiotherapy with children who need personal care. My confidence has developped and if cover is not planned for a lesson, or if there are confusions and a teacher is late, I feel confident in beginning the class (even if I recap over what was done the previous lesson).
    Do you feel that the amount of
    pay you receive reflects the amount of responsibility you have within
    your setting?

    Not at all. I don't get paid any extra for being involved in extra curricular activities, and even if the school does a production and they need adults for correct ratio I would not get paid. I work 1:1 with a student who has asperger's and frequently there are times when I have had to withdraw him from lessons and provide additional support for him. Occasionally there are lessons I am in where the group are watching a film and I am not needed for anything specific, but I still have to stay in the lesson where I feel I could be doing a lot more! I get paid more for being a carer but there are frequent occasions where supply teachers rely heavily on me for delivering lessons. TAs are a huge part of school life, without them students would not receive support, teachers may struggle, grades would be down meaning that schools slip in league tables and they may not receieve as much funding. many TAs I know have had to restrain students, and also have to sanction students...even though they don't listen to us as we are 'just TAs'
    Do you feel valued by your setting?
    No. We have meetings where our SENCO reminds us of our place....I think if we were paid more it would reflect on how much the school values us. I dont often finish work on time, as I am catching up on bits and bobs....but it goes unrecognised. we are also often restricted in involvement in school life, opportunities such as peer mentoring are not open to us.
    Do you value
    performance management sessions? Have they impacted on your professional
    development.

    our performance management sessions involve tick boxes....once the boxes are ticked we go....we get no real feedback on anything....even if a teacher has passed on comments to the senco they dont get fed back. I dont know if it is because the senco knows I am going on to do my GTP but because that was my aim from the outset, no real advice was given for professional development.
    Would you consider training to a higher level? why/why
    not?

    If i hadnt secured a place on my GTP i would have trained as an HLTA or cover supervisor...I feel I could do a lot more within a school rather than being restricted by so many rules.
    What do you think the benefits are of using HLTAs rather than
    supply to cover teachers absence/PPA?

    There is consistence with HLTAs, they know the school, and know the teacher who is absent, therefore students are more likely to respect an HLTA.
     
  10. terri1972

    terri1972 New commenter

    How many years had you worked as a TA? 4 years (and one training)
    Which year groups do you work with? Year 3, but have worked in 1,2 and5
    How has your role changed? I have been given more responsibility, started to cover teacher absence. I have a lot more groups now, working with lower ability but also now with 6 target groups a week.
    Do you feel that the amount of pay you receive reflects the amount of responsibility you have within your setting? Absolutely not.
    Do you feel valued by your setting? Yes, very.
    Do you value performance management sessions? Have they impacted on your professional development. I don't think they do really. I think they are just a paper filling exercise!
    Would you consider training to a higher level? why/why not? I did consider it, but have decided to embark on teacher training instead and am starting the GTP this year.
    What do you think the benefits are of using HLTAs rather than supply to cover teachers absence/PPA? The HLTA will know the children, the school and what work is being covered etc. They are cheaper!!
    BTW, if you need to know I have worked for Birmingham and Walsall LEA's
     
  11. Quick, fast, easy answer They are cheaper! No other reason for not having a qualified teacher, (in secondary at any rate).
     
  12. Hi
    I am doing a similar research for my dissertation the changing role of TA's, please if it is possible can you give me some guidance and advise me on how about doing this research. I am only at the research proposal stage, so am forming questionnaires, rationale, aims etc. Much appreciated.
    LOL xx
     

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