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TAs as dinner ladies

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by melissamarangos, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. I am wondering how common it is for TAs to help during lunchtimes. After a busy morning, do you also have to help children manage their mealtimes and then clean the tables after the children have finished eating?

    If you do, do you feel this is fair and/or right? Personally I really struggle with it. I feel it devalues us as professionals and lessens us to a role we are not.

    Any thoughts appreciated!
  2. I am wondering how common it is for TAs to help during lunchtimes. After a busy morning, do you also have to help children manage their mealtimes and then clean the tables after the children have finished eating?

    If you do, do you feel this is fair and/or right? Personally I really struggle with it. I feel it devalues us as professionals and lessens us to a role we are not.

    Any thoughts appreciated!
  3. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    I completely agree with you. I have seen the look on children's faces when they say "oh, I didn't realise you were a dinner lady too." Luckily I was eventually allowed to give up the lunch time responsibilities. I absolutely hated it.
  4. I cover dinner duties too but I don't clean down tables. The children see me as a teacher (I'm a Nursery Nurse) not a dinner lady and that I'm in charge of the dinner hall, so I have no problems.
  5. I do it, I have no choice as it's in my contract! I have to clean the tables too, help put cutlery out, cut up the food for the younger ones etc. I don't really see it as something that devalues me...everybody mucks in as we are a very small school-plus I get to chat to the kids and feel part of it all.
  6. Totally agree littlemisstickles you get some good chat from the children and as you said everyone has to muck in and help.[​IMG]
  7. I have very mixed feelings about lunch duty. I do it but as an MDSA - I have a separate contract for it.

    On the one hand I love to interact with the children on a different level and it means I know every single child in the school (small village school) not just the ones in my class. It also means I am aware of any issues that have arisen during the morning that might impact on behaviour in the playground for the children in my class.

    On the other hand, I don't have the opportunity ever to have a really long, good, chat with my teacher. We have snatched moments before school and during break/assembly. It also means I'm constantly in demand from the children with what I often view as petty issues that they could really deal with themselves. My catchphrase towards the end of term is 'do I really want to hear this?'.

    I would, however, strongly disagree with the idea that doing lunch duties devalues my role as a TA. I simply switch hats at the door and the children recognise this.
  8. As a supply TA - I have often been told that it is part of thejob to cover lunch time, this is not really the norm, though.
    In my new job in Sept, I definately will NOT be working at lunch time. IMO they are different roles. Some people choose to do both roles, that is up to them, but no TA should be made to do lunch time. Incidentally at one school that I had to do lunch time, I got half an hour break, after the kids had come in, and that was my only break for the day. I could not work like that every day, it would make me ill. (There are other factors, involved, like the classroom environment and being told at 3.15 as the children were leaving that the person I was covering for does an after school reading group, and they expected me to do it - I refused).
    Don't get me wrong, I have a LOT of respect for lunch time supervisors, they do a fab job and in my opinion are underpaid.

  9. This is a terribly condescending message. I work as a lunchtime supervisor in the playground . Do you not believe thchildren should be respectful to all adults regardless of their position. To suggest that you feel devalued is absolutely appalling. How are children going to be raised correctly by adults with attitudes like this
  10. When I worked in mainstream primary (13 years ago) all of the TA's also worked during the lunchtime. I now work In a special school where ALL staff (yes that includes the teachers) work alongside the lunchtime staff we all do half an hour (either in dining hall or on playground). To the poster who complains at only having a half hour break if they work the lunchtime, that's all we have anyway, it's part of the job.
  11. angelface22

    angelface22 New commenter

    It is not in a teacher's contract to be covering lunchtime duties and they ought to be raising this with their headteacher. I know some teachers who volunteer to do duties but they get paid for it. Just because it is a special school doesn't mean that a teacher's contract is any different.
  12. Lunchtime is classed as a teaching time at our school and always has been, and without the teachers doing some there would never be enough staff as we have a high proportion of pupils that require feeding due to their disabilities.
  13. angelface22

    angelface22 New commenter

    So is that part of your directed time and is stated in your directed hours when you get them in September? Only members of SLT can be directed to cover lunchtime duties. I didn't know this until fairly recently. I'd be asking my union for clarification. Whilst I understand the need for feeders, why aren't the school employing lunchtime supervisors to do it. Are you happy to be "teaching" for an extra 2.5 hours a week?
  14. angelface22

    angelface22 New commenter

    This briefing note gives NUT advice on the extent of teachers’ obligations to undertake the supervision of pupils other than during lesson times.

    · Teachers cannot be directed to supervise pupils during the midday break.

    · Teachers may, however, be “reasonably” directed to supervise pupils at break times, at the beginning and end of the school day, or at the beginning or end of lunch time.

    · Time spent supervising pupils must be included in the 1265 hours’ directed time.

    · NUT policy places limits on the length of time and circumstances the NUT considers “reasonable”.

  15. I understand your point but obviously each school is different and as for employing more LSA's it seems to be an ongoing process but there are not many people who only want to work for an hour and a half a day so recruitment is hard. Also you have to understand that in a special school it is different from mainstream, having worked both there are huge differences in areas, and to be honest as it has always been part of the directed time it is done without complaint, it is set out in job descriptions and the staff handbook (updated yearly) so we all know what we are doing and the staff are really good at being flexible and moving their own lunch around to accomodate shortages due to absence, we have a brill staff who put the pupils first, sometimes policy etc doesn't work out in the real world and you have to work with what you have and as long as everyone understands that and is happy there is nothing wrong with it.
  16. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    I fully support the views shared by the colleague working in a special school and to the other colleague who suggested that more lunchtime supervisers should be employed to cover this - the answer to that is obvious and twofold:
    1. In many special schools learning to eat properly can be a priority educational target and part of the IEP so a high quality member od staff like a teacher or LSA is needed
    2. If all those teachers and LSAs ding lunch duties in my school were replaced by Lunchtime supervisors then we would have to lay off LSAs to pay for them
    Money isn't just sitting there or being wasted by colleagues
  17. zez

    zez New commenter

    I'm just about to start a new job. In my old job TAs do all morning break duties and lunch play time duties and do a MSA duty in the hall about once or twice a week. On those days i do a "double lunch" and have a half an hour break once the children have started their afternoon lessons. Only upside is that half an hour of lunch time is paid!
    In my new job we're on a rota to do morning duty about twice a week, and no lunch time duty at all. I can't believe the difference and am looking forward to soem time to actually talk to the teacher!
  18. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    I'm a HOD in a private school, and as part of our contracts we all have to do a lunch duty once a week - not sure why it would be demeaning for a TA to do this as none of us find it demeaning (everyone except SLT takes their turn - SLT do after school duties instead till 6pm, so us foot soldiers wouldn't swap!). We don't clean up after the kids, but do have to supervise the lunch hall. What's the problem?
  19. In the school where I work, all LSA's are required to cover lunch. Our Head claims that this will bring 'quality' to lunchtimes but I disagree. Whilst I recognise lunchtime as being full of important learning opportunities, I feel that it is more important for children to have support in the classroom at transition times before and after lunch. LSA's now have to have lunch in the half hour before or after lunch in order to facilitate this new 'quality' model of lunchtime provision, so those classroom support hours have effectively been removed.
    At lunchtime I am allowed to supervise upwards of 40 children on my own, but in classroom time, my LSA'S contract forbids whole class supervision. Why the difference, when the foundation stage class I work with are outside for much of the time anyway?
    As we have done away with our 14 dinner ladies and replaced them with 10 (more expensive) LSA's and HLTA's, there are too few staff to supervise the children across the full range of play areas...so every child from reception to year 6 are forced to play in the same area. All our nuture groups and lunch clubs to support vulnerable children have been axed. How can something as fundamental as the removal of choice over where to play, equate to 'quality' provision?
    Don't get me wrong. I'm not sniffy about wiping up yogurt and putting on a plaster, but if I had to choose where my time was best utilised, I'd say it was the classroom and not the dining hall.
    Never mind. Probably be teaching next year now that Gove has announced he will do away with QTS. Oh no, wait...he did that already with the introduction of HLTA'S status ;-)

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