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Hours of cover for HLTA

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by josam15, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. josam15

    josam15 New commenter

    Hi, I wonder if anyone knows what percentage of an HLTA's hours are for cover? I think this is quite a grey area but wondered if anyone had any ideas.
    I am an HLTA paid at H5 and regularly cover throughout KS1, much of the cover is in my Yr 1 class covering for NQT courses and time. When I'm not covering a teacher I am based in Year 1. I understand my role was described as covering 'for short term absence' of teachers but did not appreciate quite how much cover I would be doing. I can honestly say I have the Year 1 class on my own more than the NQT and that is without the additional cover elsewhere. On average I cover about 4 sessions (morning/afternoon) a week. When the NQT has the class I support, when I have the class I am on my own.
    Is this what others do?
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Our HLTAs are only used for cover, that's why we have them! They cover PPA, NQT and SLT time across the school
  3. josam15

    josam15 New commenter

    Thanks - can I ask, do they plan lessons too and are there several HLTA's at your school?
  4. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    When I was working as an HLTA and covering the NQT I complained if there was not additional support with me as there always was for the teacher. They were a difficult class. Unfortunately this did mean they took the TA from another class which also had difficult students.
    I did plan the lessons for that class but for other classes I covered I did not and had to try and work with the teachers planning.
  5. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

  6. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    We have 3 HLTAs, two work 4 days a week and the other just two. Planning is a bit of a mish-mash! We have schemes for most subjects so these are followed, for the others teachers do the medium term plans and the HLTAs work from those, they don't write their own plans (teaching staff are not expected to provide daily planning so most just work from medium term ones or write a brief overview for their own use)
  7. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    I would advise you to have a chat with your head teacher. Maybe print off the document I gave the link to. Good luck and let us know how you get on, as there are probably a lot more in the same position.
  8. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi josam15, what you describe is happening everywhere. It's such a grey area - and always will be without national guidelines. The HLTA status was never intended to be used as it is today; it was to acknowledge the high level of skills many TAs have and to allow HLTAs to be used for 'occasional cover'. I've been a HLTA for more than 10 years now and work with HLTAs across our LA and a wider area. There are many who spend their whole week covering - but with all the planning and resourcing ready for them. There are also some who are get planning on a post-it or simply a learning objective, and are expected to mark the work afterwards! At the other end of the spectrum, there are those whose roles haven't changed much - they are paid as HLTAs but work more as L3 TAs. I am based in Year 6 and cover one day a week there. I plan this myself (I'm happy to) and mark the work. I do have one afternoon PPA. If I have to cover other classes (this does happen), then the work will be planned and I don't do any marking. I also plan and deliver targeted interventions in Year 6 and support in class. This seems like a pretty fair balance to me.

    I also think Wotton has made a very good point - if there is usually TA support for the teacher, then you need the same when you are covering. I think that's a very fair request to make to SLT.

    Is the planning and resourcing done for you when you cover? Are you asked to do any marking? Can you pretty much fit everything into your paid hours? If you can, then I think it's just the way your school see your role - and yes, it definitely is what the majority of HLTAs are doing today.
  9. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Our HLTAs get marking time, equivalent percentage-wise to PPA time.
  10. josam15

    josam15 New commenter

    Many thanks to you all for your replies and thank you hubcap for the link - makes very interesting reading! So it sounds as if this is common practice. I have said that I believe I should have another TA with me when I cover whole class, usually all day as well but like Wooton said this means taking the TA from the Year 2 class so is not always possible. My Year 1 class is a very disruptive tricky class tho and I really don't feel I should be left to deal with them on my own.
    I don't officially plan but in reality I have been as often I am not given any planning so have to have something prepared and spend the evening before sorting something out, when I am given something it is usually in the form of a handwritten note and is certainly along the lines of teaching rather than cover supervision. I have been doing some marking but more recently tbh I have decided that what I can't get done in my hours can just wait.
    Interventions go by the wayside too when I cover which I find very sad when this is what I should be spending my time doing, supporting those children who struggle with the pace and chaos of the classrooom.
    I have worked in mainstream and special school for 7 years and took this role after completing my foundation degree as I thought it would give me a half way position between TA and teacher but feel more now that all I am is a cheaper option than a supply teacher and I leave work feeling demoralised which isnt great.
  11. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    I think you definitely need a chat with your head teacher. Look after your health too.

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