1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

How should Teaching Assistants be used?

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by JulesDaulby, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Following an excellent article in TES this week and the ongoing work on Maximising TAs by IOE's Rob Webster, I'd like to investigate how TAs should be deployed.

    Here's some initial questions:

    Are TAs a vital addition to the classroom?

    Should there be such thing as a 1:1 TA?

    Should TAs have planning time?

    Should TAs be in the classroom or delivering interventions?

    Should TAs specialise or be generic?

    In secondary schools should TAs be under the leadership of the SENCO or Heads of Curriculum?

    Should TAs have similar contracts to teachers? E.g Should they be paid over the holidays and for longer hours?

    Should TAs be able to teach small groups and/or whole classes?

    I'd like to spend the next few weeks on this forum investigating these questions, please let me know what you think.
     
    dana_santos16 likes this.
  2. Jo3Grace

    Jo3Grace New commenter

    My first thought was have you read the 2009 DISS report - it addresses a lot of your questions.

    I wrote an article on this topic for SEN Leader magazine, which might also be interesting, it looks at the DISS report and other research associated with the deployment of teaching assistants, it was published in June 2014...so it's not super up to date, but it would still be relevant.

    Best wishes exploring such a fascinating topic.

    Kind regards
    Jo Grace
     
    ang333 and dzil like this.
  3. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    From Twitter - thoughts?

    image.png
     

    Attached Files:

  4. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Thanks Jo - I'll see if I can find it.

    Jules
     
    ang333 likes this.
  5. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    What do you think of HLTAs being used for most able? See above!
     
  6. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

  7. beejade17

    beejade17 New commenter

    Hi, I'm currently writing my dissertation around the area of teaching assistants, the workload and expectations. If any of you/your teaching assistants have a spare moment, I would be hugely grateful for you to fill in this questionnaire to help me out?

    Thanks in advance!
    A desperate 3rd year.
     

    Attached Files:

    JulesDaulby likes this.
  8. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    My thoughts on the questions I could relate to. I am a teacher in a SEN school with 3 TAs.

    Are TAs a vital addition to the classroom?
    Yes, there is simply no way I could get any work done without their support.

    Should there be such thing as a 1:1 TA?
    No, never. I think the children get too dependent on an adult. We always rotate in class so you constantly work with different students. Truth be told; there are some TA/student matches that are better than others so during observations I make sure they all work with the students they are most comfortable with but otherwise they rotate.

    Should TAs have planning time?
    There should be joined planning time with teachers and TAs. My school thankfully gives time for that. It's also needed to prepare resources and for TAs to come up with their own activities if they like.

    Should TAs be in the classroom or delivering interventions?
    I would say N/A for special since classroom and intervention overlap. I did part of my training in mainstream and there the TA did interventions. The teacher actually had no idea what exactly she did or how it went.

    Should TAs specialise or be generic?
    Generic. All our TAs are trained in things like manual handling or Team-Teach even though they might not need this in their current class. TAs tend to move around from year to year as well so they ultimately become very generic.

    In secondary schools should TAs be under the leadership of the SENCO or Heads of Curriculum?
    No idea... in special they come under the teacher which makes sense to me.

    Should TAs have similar contracts to teachers? E.g Should they be paid over the holidays and for longer hours?
    Tricky one... I think they are underpaid but at the same time there is no expectation that they work beyond their hours like there is for teachers.

    Should TAs be able to teach small groups and/or whole classes?
    Yes, we only have level 4 TAs and they can all teach small groups but can also lead a whole class activity if necessary.


    Not sure whether I get the HLTA question... isn't it a good thing that the TAs are used for more able students so that the teacher can focus on the ones that struggle?
     
  9. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Whole school policy on deployment . INSET if required.PM targets matched to whole school development plan e.g. ( AFL). Regular observations and feedback.Action planning as a result.
    Specialist TAs to be encouraged but CPD offered to all for equality of opportunity. Subject specialists TAs attached core line managed by their Faculty Leaders with input from Inclusion Manager. HLTA - all about best fit for the timetable / co hort and not about lower / higher attaining. Worked on TA provision and impact a lot - published -feel free to message me if it helps .
     
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  10. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    I'll tweet
    this
     
  11. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Great
    answers, many thanks.

    The HLTA question is regarding using HLTAs for more able students and TAs for others - a hierarchy if you like based on students ability.
     
  12. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Thanks - I'll pu
    tvthis on Twitter too
     
  13. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Thank you
     
    ang333 likes this.
  14. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Are TAs a vital addition to the classroom?

    A good TA is worth their weight in gold

    Should there be such thing as a 1:1 TA?

    Only if child has high dependency needs - doesn't mean TA should be velcroed to child

    Should TAs have planning time?

    Teacher should be planning not TA so shouldn't be an issue

    Should TAs be in the classroom or delivering interventions?

    In the classroom assisting the teacher.

    Should TAs specialise or be generic?

    Generic in primary able to assist across all subjects

    In secondary schools should TAs be under the leadership of the SENCO or Heads of Curriculum?

    Should TAs have similar contracts to teachers? E.g Should they be paid over the holidays and for longer hours?

    Yes

    Should TAs be able to teach small groups and/or whole classes?

    No
     
  16. StarlightMcKenzie

    StarlightMcKenzie New commenter

    Of course TAs should be 1:1. That only creates dependency if the TA has been poorly trained or supervised by the teacher. Surely the focus should be independent skills as fast as possible which means as much 1:1 as possible to TEACH this?
    Task analysis to ensure only the elements of a task that require support are supported but that support is presented timely and seamlessly. i.e. attach zip, step back for child to pull up, jump in to finish job. Introduce/prompt discussion with peer, step back and monitor discussion, jump back in to repair communication before peer loses patience and wanders off - to facilitate as much practice for the child as possible during the school day.
    As the skills are learned there is just as much input required to take them to a higher level, until they can truly be independent not just to survive the classroom at that time but to be able to learn the requirements of the next stage of education too.
    Abandoning a child does not teach independence.
    Telling their parents a child cannot have a 1:1 at break time because they need to learn to socialise independent is silly. If they need to learn something, it needs to be taught. With a proper strategy with planned and measurable outcomes designed and decided upon by the teacher.
    If a child has a 1:1 written in their EHCP, that is a 1:1. That means that small groups needs to be facilitated by someone else, with the 1:1 there to support that child's maximum benefit from it.
    The focus should be on as intense quality 1:1 as possible with the ultimate goal of genuine independence. Measuring progress on a daily basis will help the teacher tweak the TA input into that child's day. Why only present opportunities to practice a skill once a week, why not integrate it into every moment of the day so that a child can learn a skill in two weeks, not over two years?
     
  17. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

  18. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Some excellent points here Starlight. Wondering about how we sometimes get 1:1 TA support so wrong? Training and guidance vital isn't it?
     
    CurriculumForAutism likes this.
  19. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Yes please to your TA provision and impact report.
     
  20. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    evajoseph likes this.

Share This Page