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HLTA or Unqualified teacher?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ThePunjabiSpaniel, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. ThePunjabiSpaniel

    ThePunjabiSpaniel New commenter

    Hi All
    I came late to education, having worked in tv and film production for 22 years. Following a long break of nine years when I stopped work to care for my (autistic) daughter, I tried my hand as a special needs TA in 2009.
    I was interviewed and observed for a higher level position four years ago, which required a degree of teaching. I taught 5 lessons a week and ran the school council.
    Following a change of head, my teaching quota grew and grew and the timetable I have been presented with for next September is approx. twenty four lessons a week (plus School Council). I was told as a Higher Level TA, I could not expect any PPA time, but that the teachers should supply the schemes of work (it's never happened yet)!
    BUT, if she was to award me un-qualified teacher status, then - although there would be no difference to my pay-check at the end of the month - I would get PPA time (as I would have to plan everything from scratch).
    What I cannot find out, for love nor money, is what it would mean for my pension.
    I would go from 'part time' (39 weeks a year pro-rata'd pay) to full-time, but the salary would be lower as it wouldn't be pro-rata'd any more. I'm presuming it would be a teacher's pension, but I cannot find out if it would be better for my pension if I moved from my Local Government Pension Scheme as an HLTA, to an unqualified teacher's pension for the remaining five years of my working life.
    Does anyone have any ideas? Or has anyone been in a similar position?
    I've tried Unison, NUT, My Pensions HelpDesk, Teachers' Pension Portal . . . all to no avail.
  2. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    As a TA or HLTA, I assume your pension is a Local Government one, not a Teachers pension...
  3. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    When I worked as an HLTA I put my foot down about planning and eventually got some PPA time.
    I'm not sure about the pension but I believe you need to hold QTS to pay into TP. You could try phoning TP or even speak to your LA pensions dept.
    There is an unqualified teacher's pay scale but schools can pay what they want these days.
    ThePunjabiSpaniel likes this.
  4. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    You need to take some qualified advice as it may not be worth changing for 5 years.
  5. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    I knorw that unqualified people who teach at Saturday morning centres in our area are enrolled into the teachers pension scheme. Definitely phone teachers pensions and ask. Then play about with the numbers.
    ThePunjabiSpaniel likes this.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    It's about the role not the qualification or job title so you don't need QTS and an unqualified teacher can be a TPS member. The employer has to decide whether it's a teaching role. TPS website has this rather lengthy explanation:

    If a person is involved in a role that is predominately a teaching role, is 16 or over and is not over 75, then they should be enrolled into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. This applies equally to people working full and part-time.

    It’s long established practice that the post of head teacher - as the academic head of the school - falls within the scope of 'teacher' for the purposes of the Teachers’ Pensions Regulations. Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Executive Head Teachers overseeing a number of Academies may also be members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme under regulations, but the following points must be considered by participating employers:

    • There is no definition of ‘teacher’ in the Teachers’ Pensions Regulations, but ‘teaching work’ is described in other education and teaching legislation. Regulation 6 of the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 sets out the specified work, albeit in relation to work in maintained schools in England.

      “...6. The specified work referred to in the Specified Work Regulations is defined in regulation 5 as:
      (i) planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils;
      (ii) delivering lessons to pupils;
      (iii) assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils ;
      (iv) reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils...”
      The same definition is used for “Teaching work” in regulation 3 of the Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012.
    • Whilst CEOs and Executive Head Teachers may not be involved in planning and delivering lessons or front-line teaching, they may be actively engaged in the academic side of the school and report to other Board members in respect of items (iii) and (iv) above, i.e. assessing and reporting on the development and progress of students. Employers may therefore consider their role to be within the scope of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. However, if there is little or no ‘Teaching work’ and the role is akin to that of a business administrator, it may be more appropriate for the CEO post to fall outside the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and come under another arrangement e.g. the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
    • Employers participating in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme are required to consider individual roles to determine whether the post-holder meets the eligibility requirements in relation to their contract of employment. Teachers’ Pensions would expect an employer to satisfy themselves that the detail of the role has been accurately captured within the person’s job description and that the employer could defend their decision on membership of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, if challenged.
    It’s for each employer to determine the eligibility of the individual to membership of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in accordance with the Teachers’ Pensions Regulations. The person must undertake some academic and teaching roles. Any CEOs and Executive Head Teachers that occupies a financial or administrative role would not be eligible for membership of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. If an individual is incorrectly placed into membership of the Scheme, action will be taken to correct the position and the contributions refunded; so it’s important that employers carefully consider and assess individual roles before taking a decision as to which pension scheme is most appropriate.
    Pomza likes this.
  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Are they unable to find any qualified teachers in your area?
  8. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    As an HLTA, I do get PPA time - that's down to the school.

    What I know about pensions would fit on a stamp (and that's not good enough, as I'm very close to mine!) but I think you may be better staying with your local government scheme. You would only have five years in the teachers' scheme, which is a very short time in terms of pensions, and local government schemes are still pretty good.

    Also - and this is purely gut feeling - I would think very carefully before accepting the unqualified teacher role. As you say, there will be no difference in your pay, but I think you could quickly find a mountain of other responsibilities added to those you already have … subject co-ordinator? long-term sick supply cover? How would you feel if that happened? At this stage of your career, you might want to stay in your current role and push harder for schemes of work as you will now be covering many more lessons. Half a day PPA would not go far to plan 24 lessons a week, especially if they are across different key stages - you would definitely find yourself working over and above, probably at home.

    It sounds as though you are doing a great job and your school value you highly. They wouldn't want to loose you - you could try saying you'd rather stay as a HLTA but, in view of the number of lessons you are covering, you really do need PPA time in order to deliver them at the highest standard.
  9. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Will you be teaching the 24 lessons as a temporary arrangement until they have appointed qualified teachers? Do parents know the situation? It sounds to me like you're being taken advantage of and used as a cost saving exercise.
  10. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    Two SEN schools near me, part of a MAT, both use HLTAs and TAs to teach classes on a permanent basis. When I was there I worked out there were 10 teachers, 6 of us QTS, 4 on a School based teacher training course. As there were 19 classes you can see that some were always taught by TAs. A friend of mine was HLTA and with a full timetable of 24 lessons a week and they were also subjected to lesson obs and drop ins. We had mock ofsteds twice a year too! Staff turnover was high!
    install and Rott Weiler like this.
  11. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    The absolute state of education these days.
    sbkrobson and agathamorse like this.
  12. ThePunjabiSpaniel

    ThePunjabiSpaniel New commenter

    Yes, at present it is a LGPS.
  13. ThePunjabiSpaniel

    ThePunjabiSpaniel New commenter

    That's my worry.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. ThePunjabiSpaniel

    ThePunjabiSpaniel New commenter

    Thank you for the above. It's turning out to be quite a dilemma!
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. ThePunjabiSpaniel

    ThePunjabiSpaniel New commenter

    I think it's very hard at the moment as I work in an area where the cost of living is very high. And people like me (who really need the money) are cheap, I guess.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. ThePunjabiSpaniel

    ThePunjabiSpaniel New commenter

    Thank you for your advice. Your comment about the mountain of other responsibilities chimes with my own worries, along with the pension.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Have to say I dropped the HLTA part of my job as the extra money didn't I feel make up for the extra work. Sometimes I'd arrive in school to find I was covering a class due to a teachers absence. I then had to work out from the planning what to do. Often I was trying to teach a lesson which needed the IWB and there was no laptop.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Take it while you can. No one can object to that.
    ThePunjabiSpaniel likes this.
  19. phatsals

    phatsals Senior commenter

    If you move to TPS you will be on Career Average, to be taken at SPA. As things stand, your current pension will pay out based on your cumulative service, I assume some of it is based on NPA 65. If you end up in TPS for less than 2 years you may well end up with your contributions refunded. You don't know yet that you would even like the job. Another alternative would be to move your LGP into TPS, again this would be into Career Average. Don't make any hasty decisions on this, you could lose out.
    You will be used as a full time teacher, but without the financial benefits that go with it The workload in teaching is phenomenal and you are being taken advantage of. I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, tell your HT that you will stay as HLTA but that planning MUST be provided as s/he promised. Every time it isn't take it back to the HT.
    agathamorse likes this.
  20. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    By becoming an UQT, you might be given some PPA time (which may rapidly dwindle to nothing) but you will be expected to take on a full teaching role, with all the extra work that involves, like Parents' Evenings, reports, planning, etc. I think the school is trying to get more out of you for nothing.
    agathamorse likes this.

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