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Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Mrs Mo, Feb 9, 2011.
my thoughts exactly!!!!
Sorry to hear that wyrdsister- sadly a story we will hear more and more I think over the next few months and especially at the end of the summer term when lots of contracts are renewed. I am very lucky and am on a permanent contract and I am not pupil specific
R13 I fear your post may get lost so I just wanted to flag it up - your posts on here have made it patently clear that you are one of those fantastic heads who is totally supportive of all your staff and pupils - you often remind me of a head I had the privilege to work with for a number of years and I always use to argue with any critics of SMT/Headteachers that some outstanding Heads really do exist! Barely a day goes by without me wishing I still worked with one of them.
I totally agree with what you say, and it is worrying to see posts which show proposed cuts are allowing staff to be divided instead of standing together. I fear some SMTs will not take your attitude and may use the excuse of funding cuts to restructure staffing with certain ulterior motives. It is indeed a worrying time for all of us who work in education, and I doubt if any teachers will welcome job losses fro TAs or feel their own position to be safe.
We TA's in Cumbria are holding a rally in Carlisle on 24th Feb in the city centre. Our Council have continuosly told us that we have been overpaid for years and must now take massive pay cuts. They claim that those of us who are contracted for 32.5 hours a week are paid for 37! We have all been allocated a job family although these do not reflect our roles at all. We have all appealed and are awaiting developments.
So you are not alone in your struggle. Unison are the union to speak to ASAP. Good luck.
hendebob it sounds as though you are going through the single Status process rather than this being anything to do with the new job cuts due to funding. Are TAs currently paid all-year-round in Cumbria? Under term-time-only pay I am paid 32.5 hours a week for actually working 36.5 (this is how my 46.4 weeks pay is split to make 12 equal payments) so it sounds as though this is where the claim that you are all being overpaid is coming from.
We had 3 days of strikes over this issue in 2008 and feelings ran very high for a long time but, unfortunately, the whole process dragged on for so long that it was finally forced upon us - I suspect there is no will here to take action against the new cuts and restructuring in schools although the unions are trying hard to drum up support for further action. People are afraid of losing their jobs altogether in the present economic climate.
I truly wish you success in your efforts but you should be aware that many Local Authority staff have taken action and failed as regards Single Status - the fact that my LA, the biggest in England, managed to force changes through means that many others who waited to see what would happen here are now confident of achieving what they want on this issue.
As an STA working at a secondary school in Cumbria I know exactly how you feel, we are currently going through sinlge status and also face new term and conditions. Which means for myself and many others a pay cut of £4,000 a year who can afford this?
It is disgusting that once again the lowest earners are hit, while those at the top are not affected. STRANGE THAT!!!!!
I would definitley contact your unions as that is exactly what some 1600 plus T A s in Cumbria have done and are staging a rally in protest this Thursday. We will not take this lying down and let the council treat it's employees like we don't count.
Good luck !!!
I had same letter - although the cut in working hours and therefore pay will not affect us, we had no pay rise last year and will have none for the next 2 years. Sick pay situation is only affecting support staff - so if we catch something horrible from the pupils are we going to struggle in to work while affected children and teachers stay in bed? I can't afford to lose 3 days money. What about the 48 hours we are asked to stay away for when we've had vomiting andthe runs?
If they do get rid of TAs, I can't wait to see how teachers cope with S. E. N. students on their own throughout the curriculum. By rights you should of been doing it on your own for years however, the government supported you by bringing in cheap labour ie: TAs..... some people are just so ungrateful.
I'm sorry if as a supply teacher, I get ill I do not get paid if I don not work, this is annoying when you do not know from day to day if you will get work and get stressed out worrying how to manage your money.
I have read some interesting comments on this post from TA's and teachers, and both have a point. It is wrong for the LEA's to cut wages for the TA's, when no doubt they do not cut the wages of the LEA senior staff. Also TA's must understand that supply teachers have seen their income cut over the last 3 years through the use of support staff to teach, to the extent that many are looking for jobs outside education. Thefact is there are too many teachers for the jobs that are available and also too many TA's employed in schools. An example a local primary school near me, as around 500 children and 38 TA's. When I trained and worked in the classroom support role, before going onto teaching. Schools employed TA's for statemented children only and the numbers of TA's was quite small. However under Labour the figure for support staff in schools increased from around 134,000 in 1997 to around 346,000 in 2009. The figure for teachers in permanent posts is only around 410,000. This shows the rise in support staff and is why I am suggesting that there are too many. It is sad for the TA's forced to take pay cuts, because someone as recruited to many or who are getting made redundant with bills to pay, because there some fantastic TA's out there, my dislike is for CS (but that is another story).
So don't blame the teachers, blame the labour politicians and the politicians in general, like Ed Balls and the HT's,who have recruited TA's far beyond the numbers needed.
To say that the standards in schools were unaffected by an army of new recruits is such a generalisation! There are some schools that employ extremely skilled and effective TA's (which contribute greatly to improving standards in schools) and in my experience TA's work often much longer than their alloted time with no reward other than to see a job well done. I wouldn't mind your comments if a TA's only job was to clean paint pots out all day and wander round with bits of photocopying paper, but a TA's role at my school involves a lot more responsibility and the majority of the staff have gone back to college and taken additional qualifications in their role to provide value for money!!!!!!!
Yes we are going through single status but we are all dismayed by the job family we have been put into. We all seem to have been downgraded. Are the following grades what you have in your area? TA-1a STA-2a HLTA-3a.
Sorry, but I have no confidence in Unison at all. We have gone through this exact same process in Yorkshire and Unison were worse than useless. Councils are using the current economic climate as an excuse to push through cuts in education harming the lowest paid workers. I work in a small 3 class entry infant school with a totally non-teaching deputy head and head. Makes you think don't it.
You are very kind.
I work in a special school which in my experience are often more empathetic places - though I have seen bullying and power hungry leaders in our sector most I meet are keen to do their best
In our school, the excess TAs employed have been teaching lessons to save money. I'm not sure what will happen to those lessons if TAs are cut? Maybe the school will actually have to pay a qualified teacher to teach the SEN and under achieving students. At least the students will get a proper teacher in that situation!
I have been employed as a T.A in the same school for just over 25 years and the pay has only increased by about £2.50 per hour. Initially I applied for the job as it was convenient but it wasn't long before I really enjoyed it, even though in those days it was more the general dog's body duties.
I have recently acquired my H.L.T.A. status and as it's my first year I am not getting paid anymore than I was before aprt from a little bit of overtime to set up the classroom.
So much more responsibility is expected now and pressure to attend courses so that we can improve our personal development. In our school appraisals are happening constantly, which is a good thing but if you are in it for the money...............dont bother lol
I was employed as a level 2 ta in an fsu (nursery and reception children for those who do not know) and had to 'teach' my family group every day. I took more qualifications whilst working and am now qualified to HLTA status but was still contracted as a level 2. I covered for teachers in their absence and took reception classes of 26 children. All of which is not right, but I did it anyway. I felt I had no choice. I was on a term-time only contract and by the time I had paid tax, insurance, council tax and rent, had very little money left to live on. I was paid for 32.5 hours per week and worked much longer than that every week preparing resources - often at home using my own computer, printer, laminator etc, as the working week did not provide any spare time for it. TA's rarely get any ppa and more than likely they will be covering for a teacher whilst he/she has theirs. We had 'working lunches' in our unpaid lunchtime whilst teachers get paid lunch breaks. We were also asked to 'come in for a few hours during the holidays to help to set up for the new term'.
The pay cuts that are being talked about in my authority are as follows:-
Nursery nurses who had been employed on year round contracts but worked as teaching assistants were being 'downgraded' to teaching assistants on term-time only contracts hence the reported loss of about £4,000 per year. Some teaching assistant qualifications are at a higher level than nursery nurse ones aleady and many of us (tas and nursery nurses) take part in professional development and I did specialist early years courses.
Whilst I felt for them in their loss I pondered this - why should people be paid for 52 weeks per year if they actually only worked term time only anyway?
I agree with the points they raised, I also agree with the fact that the losses were hard to take. I would have liked to have been given the extra money instead! In fact our authority stated that no-one on a low wage would be a loser. Ha!
The upshot of all this is that I had a nervous breakdown last year; I was in a very bad way mentally and physically for several months and it has been proven that I was bullied and harassed at work and forced into working myself into this state. I have been on long term sick leave and recently had my permanent contract terminated as a result.
I have had the involvement of my union, UNISON, and only now, 18 months down the line am I beginning to return to 'normal' following counselling and regular visits to the doctor.
Am I sorry I am no longer employed? Not one jot! I took a term time only job to fit in with raising my family, now I can do that and be at home. I am struggling financially but in better mental and physical health, and no longer have to drag myself into school and 'teach' only to be told that I shouldn't be doing that by a fellow worker as I was ONLY a ta. (She ius a nursery nurse employed as a t a). It seemed irrelevant that I had more qualifications than most of the teachers I worked with (and am almost at the end of a degree which I took in my own time) - I was certainly better at English and Maths than any of them in my department, including the highly paid 'manager' who was also a member of the SMT.
Why am I telling you all this? Just trying to put it all down and let you think about it. The headteacher is paid almost £60,000 - in contrast I was paid £10,000. I appreciate he head has all the 'responsibility' of running the school and all it entails, but teachers and teaching assistants are the troops on the ground if you like. I did almost non-stop first aid, changing of nappies (not allowed to refuse children in nursery if not toilet trained - inclusion even if it is just that their mother's haven't managed to train them), taught and then also supported reception children through guided reading, guided numeracy, did pe lessons, covered for teachers for absence and ppa, did profiles and observations, etc., the list goes on and on. I was also verbally abused by a couple of parents. I was not alone in this, and there will be many of you out there who will think 'this is me'.
None of this is right, and I agree to a point that perhaps teaching assistants should never have been invented. Go back to asking granny to come in for a few hours a week, for free, and let the teachers do the teaching and the nappy changing, first aid........
Bless you, SB14, for an eloquent, moving post, and yes, I did think "this is me".
May I just clarify though.. nursery nurses were not paid 52 weeks and "only" worked term time.. we were contracted to work on the same basis as teachers, ie 195 days and our pay was spread over 52 weeks. Can you imagine councils trying to take teacher's pay away from them... I'm sure the NUT and other teaching unions would do a bit of a better job of supporting them than Unison did for us.
I am glad your health is improving now, thanks again for your thought provoking message.
i dont think that the amount of ta's in any school is classed as excess. when more support staff are continually needed to meet pupils demandig needs.i think its a bit of an insult to all us hardworking ta's who are overworked without any rewards. i think there is no such thing as excess staff in education certainly not in schools- should we look outside and look at the current situation of this land and wasted money -where management reward themselves with decent pay rises and where bonuses are huge!
It never ceases to amaze me when so called 'qualified' teachers demand that only REAL teachers should teach. What constitutes a REAL teacher...a 'qualified' teacher? Does a PGCE or a GTP make a good teacher? Or is that of no consequence as long as you have a piece of paper saying you are qualified? I am a qualified HLTA, I have a first class honours degree in combined studies (a degree especially designed for a career in teaching) in addition I have 9 years experience in schools where I made the decision to persue a career in this area. Am I any less qualified to teach than an NQT or a teacher who holds a GTP??? I can empathise with supply teachers who feel TA's have taken their jobs, however, several years ago teaching jobs were at a premium and many schools couldn't fill the many vacancies they advertised...hence the growth of TA's. The army of new recruits were not unnecessary additions who were inaffective! Perhaps we don't have a PGCE or GTP but how can you say we are ALL not qualified to teach?
Found out in a whole school meeting that 10 of us are to be dropped from TA3 to TA2s, no consultation, no nothing.
We have disabled children, some quite severe in our mainstream school and in any one day can work with a disabled child, austic, behaviour.
We are one of the lowest paid but the head sees it as an easy way to save money. I know we should be grateful we have a job, but at the moment we do not feel that way.
Used and shafted comes to mind