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Is it OK to ask for a different supply TA?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by impulce, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. I know this is going to sound harsh and callous, but my TA has been off for a month or two sick now and I have had a string of supply TAs in my classroom. NONE of them have known a thing about Key Stage 1 curriculum, how to support a Y2 child, or anything at all about phonics, resulting in them being near pointless in my classroom because with the hours they work I simply dont have the time to sit down and teach them.
    I had one fairly young supply TA for a few days, whom although she had little knowledge and experience in KS1 was lovely with the children and happy to get stuck in - she was also eager to learn and took on board everything I explained to her in the few minutes we did have together at lunchtime etc. She also was happy to stay for an extra 10 minutes at the end of the day to discuss anything/help clear up etc. I asked the office to rebook her if we needed someone longer, but instead a different lady turned up today.
    All the others have arrived, said very little to me, shown no interest, and left as soon as the majority of the children had. On Friday one of my children asked her "which 'ee' sound" was in a word and she came to me and told me she had no idea what he was asking her.
    I dont have the time to teach them phonics/KS1 curriculum from scratch and can't believe there are this many supply TAs with no knowledge or experience whatsoever. The current TA has been booked until the 31st and I dont know if I can bare to have somebody so poor working alongside me as she does not help manage behaviour nor support learning. She is a nice friendly lady though and I feel guilty for wanting to take her work away from her.
    Am I able to ask the office to ring the agency and withdraw her, requesting she be replaced with someone with some experience? We are awaiting the Ofsted call and I am panicking enough without having a TA with no knowledge/skill at all.

    Im not wishing to tar all supply TAs with the same stick - Im sure there are fabulous ones out there, I just seem to have had a run of very inexperienced/ineffective people and am a bit fed up with feeling like I have no TA.
     
  2. I know this is going to sound harsh and callous, but my TA has been off for a month or two sick now and I have had a string of supply TAs in my classroom. NONE of them have known a thing about Key Stage 1 curriculum, how to support a Y2 child, or anything at all about phonics, resulting in them being near pointless in my classroom because with the hours they work I simply dont have the time to sit down and teach them.
    I had one fairly young supply TA for a few days, whom although she had little knowledge and experience in KS1 was lovely with the children and happy to get stuck in - she was also eager to learn and took on board everything I explained to her in the few minutes we did have together at lunchtime etc. She also was happy to stay for an extra 10 minutes at the end of the day to discuss anything/help clear up etc. I asked the office to rebook her if we needed someone longer, but instead a different lady turned up today.
    All the others have arrived, said very little to me, shown no interest, and left as soon as the majority of the children had. On Friday one of my children asked her "which 'ee' sound" was in a word and she came to me and told me she had no idea what he was asking her.
    I dont have the time to teach them phonics/KS1 curriculum from scratch and can't believe there are this many supply TAs with no knowledge or experience whatsoever. The current TA has been booked until the 31st and I dont know if I can bare to have somebody so poor working alongside me as she does not help manage behaviour nor support learning. She is a nice friendly lady though and I feel guilty for wanting to take her work away from her.
    Am I able to ask the office to ring the agency and withdraw her, requesting she be replaced with someone with some experience? We are awaiting the Ofsted call and I am panicking enough without having a TA with no knowledge/skill at all.

    Im not wishing to tar all supply TAs with the same stick - Im sure there are fabulous ones out there, I just seem to have had a run of very inexperienced/ineffective people and am a bit fed up with feeling like I have no TA.
     
  3. I think that teaching is a very caring profession, and sometimes it's easy to forget that "being a nice person" doesn't qualify someone for a job. I know that it's not nice to take income away from a person, but on the flip side, it's not right to pay someone for doing a job that they're essentially not actually fulfilling.
    I would hope that you're within your rights to request a different TA, and if you can, I would definitely say do it.
    (Also, I would say if the problem is -just- a lack of experience, see how it goes... as long as they are also willing to learn and put in a bit of extra time and effort to get up to speed, then clearly they deserve the chance to earn that experience.)
     
  4. Thanks for the reply - you're right, I will go and speak to the office tomorrow and see what they say. Even if I werent expecting Ofsted, it is not fair on the children to have somebody working with them that is a) not supporting them and b) probably doing them an injustice by either teaching them incorrectly/not challenging them enough.
    And you're right - the younger TA I mentioned that was willing to spend time learning was good and I was happy to have her for longer as she was happy to learn and take advice, this one primarily stands around 'observing' children at work (She doesnt seem to realise she is there to aid learning!)
     
  5. If you have no luck in getting someone else, perhaps you could give the supply TA a task sheet with jobs to do and brief explanations of what they entail. Ask her to tick them off as they are completed.
     
  6. After all, if OFSTED did turn up they might be looking at how you manage the TA and the circumstances you are dealt.
     
  7. Make a note of the names of the ones who are good (not just "that one we had on Monday last week") and ask the office to ask for them back... it's mutually beneficial - you get someone actually of use, the school gets value for their money and the TA gets the good feedback (and believe me - you get naff all in the way of good feedback on supply sometimes) because being asked for by name always is a little bit of an ego boost. Also means if the school rings in with a booking again - you're more likely to get sent someone of use since they did well there last time and the quality of staff you get improves.
    The schools I know that get good supplies in are the ones who do that - the ones that take any warm body and don't even ask their names - they're the ones who end up with the less-in-demand ones.
     
  8. The planning sheet is a good idea for future reference. Its so hard to 'manage' somebody effectively when they come in with poor knowledge and arrive and leave with the children, as this one seems too!
    As of Monday the office have specifically asked for someone with experience of KS1, and in particular phonics which hopefully will be more useful.
     
  9. I can tell you how that phonecall will go from the agency to the supply now (I've been on the other end of it).

    "Hi I've got some work at X school next week... you want it? Great! Only thing is they've asked for someone with experience of, let me see here, phone-icks? Does that word mean anything to you? OK I'll tell them you'll be there on Monday."
     
  10. Then they'll get sent back again and we'll use one of the other supply agencies after our business.
    Seriously though, how can anyone who has spent longer than a day in KS1 not have a clue that phonics exists?


     
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I've met teachers who don't know much more
     
  12. I know that someone I'm training with at the moment is in a London school where their KS1 teacher (I can't remember if it's Y1 or Y2) isn't doing any phonics work with them at all.
    Clearly it's rare, but it seems that it really does go that way in a few places =/
     
  13. Maybe you should be honest with her and tell her to read up on phonics. I
     

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