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HLTA being used?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by hank82, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. hank82

    hank82 New commenter

    Not sure if I’m posting in the right place but hoping for a bit of advice as to whether current situation is right or not. It’s a bit of a long story but I will try to be concise - please bear with me!

    In September I was employed 2 days a week to cover classes whilst teachers were out having management time. I am a teacher with 10 years experience and although I took a pay cut - back to m6 - for this job, I was generally happy with the situation as I have 2 young children at home and not having to deal with other class stuff and admin etc. was lovely.

    Roll forwards a few months and I am now covering in another class for a member of staff on long term sick. I am trying to do extra days where I can to help out but generally sticking to my 2 days. I’m not being given PPA as the planning is done and have been told I’m essentially “just supply” at the moment but I am expected to do marking and assessment, as well as attend staff meetings and curriculum team meetings after school.

    The other days (usually 3) are being covered by an HLTA (who is only employed as HLTA for 2 days) so she is doing all the things expected of a teacher bar the planning. She is not given PPA either and is only being paid 8.45-3.30 though she is staying later to get the marking done.

    We have just been told that the member of staff off sick is not coming back and the situation as it currently stands (myself and the HLTA) will continue until the end of the year. They have changed the class name to my initials (without asking me).

    My questions are:
    Is it reasonable for the school to be asking this of us?
    Should the HLTA be covering as much as she is? (Especially as she is only on HLTA rate for 2 days a week.)
    If I’m technically only in the class 2 days but I’m the qualified teacher are the class then my responsibility? Will I be held to account with regard to the children’s progress?
    I really don’t know what to do about the situation as I’ve not been at the school very long.

    Would be grateful for any advice.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The planning is done? Not the weekly and daily plans. That take account of actual, real children and their progress. Nope. Who is doing that?

    You're going to have to forget the HLTA. Not your province.

    Will you be held accountable? It's your class, I think you'll find. With your initial. Who else is going to get the blame? Sorry, get the praise. You got it. It'll be....you.

    To me you're a proper 0.4. You should get PPA. The meetings? Only on your working days. Don't go in specially.

    You're a part-time member of the whole-school team and are entitled to whatever the 0.6 and 0.8s get. In proportion.

    The HLTA? I don't agree with it but there's nothing you can do. If she doesn't like her pay and conditions then she can do something about it. As can you. Negotiate on your own behalf. Join a union. Threaten to move. Sorry.

    There'll be no money in the pot. So they cut corners. Bottom line.
  3. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    You definitely need PPA time pro rata and some time liaising with the HLTA. They can't say the planning is done for the rest of the year either. Planning has to adapt from each lesson. Even if they said planning was done, PPA is Planning Preparation and Assessment time. Your job has changed so don't let them talk you into doing more hours than you want to do. If you get PPA on top of your two days and it has to fall on another day, if you are happy to have it I would certainly negotiate that to be taken at home as you have child care to think about. They certainly sound as if they are trying to save money here so don't let it be all give from you and all take from them.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Agree. You should have the PPA; fight for it. If they want you in for meetings on days you don't work, they need to pay you.

    Ask who is responsible for the progress of the class? If you're "supply", delivering lessons you haven't planned, surely it can't be you. You clearly can't be responsible for the other three days, if you are not planning or delivering them, or even being given any liaison time. Perhaps the approach to take is to say "Now that the class has my initials, presumably you no longer regard me as just doing supply cover, and the parents certainly won't. Please can we have a meeting to discuss time for preparation and assessment, and also who is responsible for the class's progress."

    The HLTA should fight her battle for PPA/pay after 3.30. She shouldn't work the extra time if she's not being paid. Hopefully her union can support her in saying that she will mark what she can, and then leave any marking remaining at 3.30 for SLT to deal with. If she just does it, nothing will change.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    This says you need to fight one way or the other.
    If you are supply, then you don't need to go to meetings, nor sort out assessments, nor do you have responsibility for progress. (Though marking is reasonable.)
    If you are not supply, then you need 10% PPA time and it needs to be clear what you are responsible for. (What does your job description/contract say?)

    Either is probably fine with you, given the money is the same, but they can't have it both ways.
    Ask your union for support in clarifying this with the school and insisting on proper treatment.

    The HLTA needs to speak to her own union and sort out her own pay and conditions. You cannot fight her battles.
  6. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    You are being used. You are not 'supply' and you need to fight for everything. Don't let them get away with not paying you for meetings, no PPA etc.

    This is the start of a slippery slope if we don't fight this.
  7. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I am not amused. I feel you are being exploited because you are a working mum and grateful to have a job to fit around your responsibilities and the HLTA is being exploited even more.

    The school really should respect the both of you and the essential job you are doing.

    I hope you are with your union, and you have to get your union to carefully explain to SLT how things should be. Yes I know the SLT know, but let's hope they can be told in a manner that doesn't rock the boat. Also, the more responsibilities they lump on you, the more it becomes the kind of job you don't want i.e. one that impinges on your home life.

    You should be getting your PPA, TPS contributions your holiday and sickness etc, IF you are expected to do marking, planning etc.
  8. hank82

    hank82 New commenter

    Thanks for all your replies.
    I’m glad to read I’m not totally wrong in thinking this situation isn’t quite right.

    It actually came to a bit of a head yesterday when one of the SLT came to the HLTA about why she’d asked to be excused from a meeting in order to finish some marking. This resulted in the HLTA sobbing in a cupboard.

    I went straight to the Head and that member of SLT to discuss what had happened and brought up my issues to them again.

    It didn’t really change anything, other than I think they now do understand I’m not going to do 3 days every single week as that wasn’t what I signed up for and not actually financially viable after putting 2 kids in childcare for a full day.

    I also asked the responsibility question and was asked in return why I was worried the children might not be progressing. Was it because I thought the planning was rubbish. I hadn’t said that - though I did say I found it difficult sometimes to follow the powerpoints given as planning as we aren’t given actual paper plans and that I might have taught something in a different way had I been given the plans. I was told to follow the powerpoints as written.

    I also discovered that I am going to be expected to do parents’ evening in a few weeks (though the HLTA is not) and that a letter had been sent out to the parents (again without my knowledge) to explain I am now the class teacher. Interestingly they made no mention that the HLTA actually has the class more often than me.

    I have made contact with my union - to log the situation more than anything and have suggested the HLTA does the same.

    Having had a long discussion with my husband about the situation I am going to ‘act like a supply teacher’ and do what is required in that way but nothing else. The Head said she’s happy for me to miss staff meetings (on eves I’m at school) which are about ‘general school running’ - odd considering they’re now saying I’m the class teacher but she is immovable about the PPA so I will take what time I can get to complete marking etc...

    Overall I am enjoying the class and most of the rest of the staff are lovely. Even the head and SLT are really nice I just think they are being a bit unreasonable in this situation in particular.

    Thanks again for those of you who spent the time replying to me. It’s always good to have someone else’s take on something.
  9. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I must say I am a little confused about whether this is resolved or not. I hope the union has given their advice and this jobs remains what you need it to be.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter

    I don’t know where to being. Being from Victoria, I could just butt out, but it makes my blood boil to think a school has replaced a long-term absent teacher with a supply teacher for two days and an HLTA for three.

    We don’t have HLTAs. We do have various aides, but none of them is allowed to teach a class or do “cover”. All lesson must be taken by registered teachers or in few cases, such as the deplorable Teach for Australia, given official “permission to teach” by the Victorian Institute of Teaching.

    Our equivalent of PPA time is not “covered” by anyone. Every class has a full timetable with a teacher responsible for that period. In a primary school, where the maximum teaching is 22.5 hours, the other 2.5 will be taken by another teacher for a specific subject, say art or PE. In a secondary school, where the maximum load (including extras and home groups) is effectively 19.2 hours when teachers insist on it, each class will have several teachers, each responsible for their own subject. In rare cases, part-time teachers may share a subject for a class, but I can recall only one occasion when I had to make that arrangement, and that was only because of an idiotic curriculum structure that was abandoned after one year. Teachers who have reduced loads because of leadership responsibilities will have a proper allocation of classes and not have to be “covered” for some of them by anyone else.

    I was a timetabler in three schools and a daily organiser in two. Not once did I put an unqualified person in charge of a class, not even for one lesson. In the case of long-term absences, a teacher would be put on a contract with exactly the same conditions and responsibilities as every other teacher. In the case of a short-term absence, a CRT (casual relief teacher) would be employed on a daily basis. I would normally give the CRT five out of the six lessons and a duty and a home group. If things were really tight, I would give the CRT six lessons but no duty and no home group. CRTs were not expected to correct work, plan programs or attend meetings.

    Now, none of this is any assistance to the original poster, but it is a reminder of how bad things are in England and the need for a policy response that prevents the issues raised here existing in the first place.
    hank82, catbefriender and agathamorse like this.
  11. hank82

    hank82 New commenter

    Not really resolved to be honest but working through it with help from Union.
    The job definitely has plus points but I still feel like I’m being taken advantage of.
    catbefriender and agathamorse like this.

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