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HLTAs/TAs in Primary schools undertaking PPA duties

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Bronco, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. I would like some feedback from HLTAs and TAs in Primary schools about your involvement with teaching during class teachers' assigned PPA time. Are you asked to take sole charge of classes during such PPA time and are you expected to teach rather than just supervise? What subjects are you expected to teach? What proportion of the subject teaching time are you expected to take on?
     
  2. Why d'you want to know?
     
  3. We have a HLTA in our school but they are not used to cover PPA/teacher absence. We employ teachers to do that role. The HLTA has a very active role in supporting the SENCo manage the SEN provision. She also delivers the Performance Management of the LSAs.
    Not helpful in response to the OP but felt it was worth saying that HLTAs are not necessarily used to cover classes.
     
  4. I agree that not all schools use support staff to undertake a PPA role; but only about 40% of PPA time is undertaken by qualified teachers. The other 60% is taken by unqualified teachers and support staff. But these figures hide the subject time lost to children when they do not have their regular teachers which was the point of my query.
     
  5. I would be interested to know whether or not HLTAs plan the lessons that they cover for? In my mind teachers planning for their own PPA time defeats the point of PPA. However where would schools stand with support staff planning lessons? Just out of interest...
     
  6. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Do you think then, Bronco, that teachers should not have non-contact time for planning, preparation and assessment - surely that's the only way children could have their regular teacher 100% of the time?
    I assume that you actually mean that they should have a qualified teacher but, as you well know, the reality of this situation is that many pupils will have a stream of different supply teachers coming in to schools which either cannot, or will not, employ a permanent teacher to cover ppa time. The main reason I was asked to cover ppa was because (for a number of reasons, which I am not going to state because it would make my school quite identifiable to anyone who knows it) our school budget did not allow us to replace the teacher who fulfilled this role and the use of supply staff led to exactly this situation of different teachers coming in and the lack of consistency of staffing impacted on learning. Unfortunately, also we had the situation I have already mentioned in previous posts that many of the supply staff agencies provided were students, not qualified teachers at all, and the permanent staff in school were being called into their classes during their supposed non-contact time because these people lacked behaviour management skills as well as, in some cases, subject knowledge.
    I hope you are aware that I am most certainly not one of those HLTAs who thinks she/he is a teacher, I have no desire to be a teacher and have actively rejected the opportunity to train as one - in addition to which I also strongly urge my own children not to become teachers either! I am not a 'supply-teacher basher' either as I have the greatest admiration for those who carry out this extremely difficult role well. I also understand that trainee teachers will not have the same skills as experienced ones and neither am I knocking students (although there are some who patently should not be on the training course, unfortunately) but the fact remains that there are situations in which the use of a skilled HLTA is actually not the worst choice. Nor is it always based on saving money - I am paid at the top rate of the proper, recommended scale for an HLTA and earn more than an NQT - if I am not available to cover ppa an agency supply is brought in not another member of support staff.
    I sincerely hope that, at some stage, we may again employ a qualified teacher to cover ppa time - aside from anything else, this takes me away from my many other resposibilities (which have nothing to do with working with SEN children incidentally) and impacts negatively on other areas, particularly behaviour and social and emotional development of pupils. Realistically, I know that our school will actually lose funding, not gain it, and the only way anything will change will be if this appalling government decide (as they threatened) to remove the right to non-contact time for PPA. There will be no-one gaining from that in my opinion.


     
  7. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Devonsent, it clearly states in the guidance on PPA that teachers should not plan the lesson for whoever covers it - whether that be supply staff or another member of staff, either a teacher or an HLTA. I do all the planning, preparation and assessment - and, inevitably, have to write end of year reports for those subjects. I never cover literacy or numeracy as part of ppa and would consider that inappropriate personally.
     
  8. What do subjects do you teach?
     
  9. phatsals

    phatsals Occasional commenter

    Interestingly a question has been put on the CS forum by a HLTA about teaching Science across the school and how to keep the Y6 engaged. The poster appears to be planning, preparing and 'teaching' a very important core subject across two entire key stages. I say interestingly because the question has not been put to teachers, but to CSs.
    Seems so very wrong on any number of levels.
     
  10. Absolutely 100% agree with Science not being taught by a HLTA.
     
  11. Another example of Guidelines vs Regulations:-
    Guidelines - support staff may carry out specified work when covering under the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher for short periods only. For medium and long term cover a qualified teacher should be used.
    Regulation - classes timetabled for core and foundation subjects must be assigned a qualified teacher to teach them.
    Who are the losers? The qualified supply teachers who are being denied the opportunities to work despite having to pay a fee for the right to teach - a fee that HLTAs do not have to pay. Even more important it is the children who are being denied their rights to be taught by a qualified teacher.
    Who is to blame for this situation? The incompetent politicians and senior civil servants who compose contradictory guidelines and regulations and do nothing to enforce the regulations.
     
  12. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    What did supply teachers do before PPA was created in 2005? Why does that work no longer exist? This is a genuine question as we had supply teachers in school way back before the inception of PPA time. Only thing I can see that makes a difference in our school is that teachers do not go on many training courses because of budgetary limitations.
    Is one of the issues here the fact that too many students are being accepted for teacher training courses? And is this also the reason that there is a shortage of permanent positions so that many more qualified teachers are joining the supply pool? Whatever the reason I agree that the fault lies with government policy which is decided by people who believe the fact that they attended a school (even though for many of them that school was a public one!) makes them experts in education! Prime example of this was David Blunkett who destroyed the special schools system because he disliked the one he attended
     
  13. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    Again, you misrepresent/ignore the actual wording of the The Education (Specified Work and Registration) (England) Regulations 2003. For your benefit I include them here:
    5. No person may carry out work specified in regulation 6 in a school unless he—

    (a)is a qualified teacher, or

    (b)satisfies the requirements specified in Schedule 2.
    (From Schedule 2)
    Other persons who may carry out specified work

    10.—(1) This paragraph applies in the case of a person who is not a qualified teacher and who is not mentioned in paragraphs 2 to 9 of this Schedule.

    (2) Such a person may carry out work specified in regulation 6 in a school only if the following conditions are satisfied –

    (a)he carries out work specified in regulation 6 in order to assist or support the work of a qualified teacher or a nominated teacher in the school;

    (b)he is subject to the direction and supervision of such a qualified teacher or nominated teacher in accordance with arrangements made by the head teacher of the school; and

    (c)the head teacher is satisfied that he has the skills, expertise and experience required to carry out work specified in regulation 6.
    It is the REGULATIONS and NOT the guidelines which allow unqualified support staff to undertake the specified work. There is no contradiction. I agree that certain wording needs to be clarified but there is not the contradiction that you see. As I understand it, your union has stopped responding to you on the point. The politicians are not budging, neither are the Heads. This would suggest that they do not agree with your interpretation of the Regulations/Guidelines...
    I am not saying this situation is morally correct, only that when arguing a point you should not misrepresent the position by reading in contradictions which do not exist.
    On a related note, I see an end to PPA looming on the horizon, so CSs could be in for a shock!
     
  14. historygrump

    historygrump Occasional commenter Forum guide

    Crowbob
    I thought the rules that Bronco quoted came from the 2002 Education Act, which to my knowledge as not been admended by parliament. Unless the regulations have been approved or changed by parliament they are legally binding. The Workforce Agreement, which I persume your are referring to (I apologise if I am wrong) is an agreement on working practices within schools, including the use of staff and PPA time. The WFA was signed by many unions, the main and to be honest the only one representing teachers the N.U.T refused to sign the agreement. The point I feel thst Bronco is trying to make that under the 2002 Act, it defines the who can teach classes, which was contradicted by the 2003 agreement, an agreement that to may knowledge did not go before parliament for approval or to be voted into law to replace the regulations in the Act. If my memory serves me right, the official role of the TA was to work under the supervison of the class teacher and to work with small groups of teachers, I have never read to be honest any document that says they can legally teach.
    That is one issue we need to consider, is the regulations unclear to the point of murky and need clarification as in Scotland. Whose assembly have made it crystal clear that only teachers can take classes, this simple regulation makes it clear to HT's that they cannot use unqualified or support staff to take lessons. I am a member of the ATL and they have told me that in their view unqualified staff cannot teach lessons, and they said if I know of schools that use support staff as teachers, then I should report the school. However they will not raise the issue themselves because in my opinion they are spineless and are seeking to recruit support staff to pretend they are a serious and a big union.
    I agree with you that CS and TA's could be effected if the PPA time is cut, in that there will be little need for them, if teachers without lessons in secondary schools can be assigned to the cover lists or in primary schools a teacher is not given the PPA time. How it will impact on supply teachers will be hard to judge, it may benefit supply teachers, if PPA time is scrapped or the present slow death of the supply teachers role could continue. But one thing is certain the government need to sort the mess out, once and for all.
     
  15. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    I am referring to the Regulations made by the Secretary of State (a statutory instrument). These are legally binding and the SoS is given the power to issue such Regulations by the Education Act 2002. I am not referring to WFA.
     
  16. I teach, mostly numeracy, literacy and letters and sounds on a regular basis for 2 particular classes each week, and either Science, PSHE, History or RE with 2 other classes each week. The difference being, the classes where I am asked to teach Lit and Num are a morning PPA cover and the classes where I teach a variety of the other subjects are afternoon PPA cover.
     
  17. In reply to the OP, at the school I am involved in, PPA and sickness absence is covered by a qualified teacher or qualified supply teachers. Teaching Assistants only "cover" in an emergency until a supply teacher arrives, usually within an hour or so.
     
  18. As a Hlta i have been asked to cover both planned absence (courses and ppa cover) and unplanned such as sickness cover. Have done both core subjects and others such as french, , re, phse etc. I do agree teachers shouldn't have to do the planning for their ppa time but when being asked to cover maths / literacy which is a part of the weeks work this should be planned, or at least give us some guideance. Most of us are happy to mark and plan but we aren't teachers and in oder to provide quality lessons we often need some help.
     
  19. I
    would like some feedback from HLTAs and TAs in Primary schools about your involvement with teaching during class teachers' assigned PPA time. Are you asked to take sole charge of classes during such PPA time and are you expected to teach rather than just supervise? What subjects are you expected to teach? What proportion of the subject teaching time are you expected to take on?

    Hi I am a TA who has just completed HLTA course. I cover PPA every week in a year 3/4 class and teach science. I plan my lessons, teach and mark. I assess the children at the end of each topic but have not done any levelling. I was given the choice to do this as I taught comprehension last year. I'm really enjoying it but planning takes a long time. I am very conscientious and have taken advice from the teacher and science leader. This seems quite common in my school and most TA's do PPA cover though I follow discussions closely on opinions about this from both TA's and teachers.
     
  20. As a HLTA I cover PPA for Y3/4/5/6 and teach PE at these times. I plan all lessons and report to HT. I also cover unplanned absences from YrR to Yr6 - on these occassions I refer to the class TA as to what the class would normally be doing and, if possible, continue with the lesson. If this is not feasible, I take instruction from the HT.
     

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