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Teaching Assistants not being paid correctly for the work

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by AlmaB, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Hi All
    Through my work as a union rep in schools I am disappointed and angry to find that the SLTs in many many school are breaching the Workforce Agreement by expecting the teaching assistants to do work that is not covered in their job descriptions. The workforce agreement says that 'teachers and teaching assistants are not interchangeable' and that level 4 and HLTA status teaching assistants should cover teachers only 'short term for whole classses' . This does not mean being timetabled week in and week out to cover lessons. A teacher should always be assigned to the class. The Level 4 and HLTA status TA should only cover short terms absence or PPA time. TAs at lower grades should not plan or deliver lessons as that is 'specified work' under the agreement. Why should schools get teachers on the cheap? Check your job descriptipons. Also Cover supervisors should only supervise pupils carrying out work set by the teacher. They should not deliver a new concept to the class only reinforce one that they have already been taught by answering general questions. Please don't allow yourselves to be taken advantage of.
  2. That's all well and good but, most of us don't have job descriptions, our jobs have evolved beyond what can be written in a contract. Two little words make all the difference and are on all contracts/job descriptions <u> "As directed".</u> Basically you do what you are told, usually within reason but sometimes not, it's then up to the individual to decide what they will or won't put up with, and if and when they call the union or other support and then....nothing! Our two HLTAs cover all PPA across the school and have to mark and plan all of those lessons, they have a Monday morning to do this, most of the teachers provide a lesson outline but they have to organise their lessons. Fair? Probably not, what they signed up for when they took the HLTA status? Again probably not. But it is their job that they agreed to do when asked by the Head, to be reviewed if they have problems?????
  3. "PPA time is a regular occurence and, therefore, the 'cover' of these lessons needs to be timetabled. Thi is not short term and is not short notice"
    There should always be a qualified teacher to undertake lessons for medium and long term periods.
  4. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Bronco, you simply choose to ignore what you have repeatedly been told on other threads about who is allowed to cover PPA. What Crowbob told you on this one still applies!

    OP - if you are the Union rep what are you doing about your members being exploited? Or are they quite happy for this to happen, in which case you need to have a meeting and discuss this with them - have your LEA's employee guidance notes and, if needs be, contact the union and ask for someone else to come in and back you up - sometimes a different face can be effective (annoying, but true - my SMT often need me to bring in the 'heavy mob' to tell them exactly the same as I have, though I am lucky in that the members don't do this.)
    HLTAs who deliver lessons within the legal framework (and this does include regular PPA cover) should be expected to plan, mark and assess for those lessons - if they don't want to do this then don't accept an HLTA job. However - if they are employed as HLTAs then they should be paid appropriately (according to your local agreement.) This payment should not just be given for the time they cover whole classes but, unfortunately, this was never actually put inot any legal document merely on WMG's advice and so, in many authorities, is ignored.
    In my LEA Level 3 TAs can be asked to cover (not teach) for up to two sessions per week but if this happens more than rarely they are paid a Responsibility Point for doing so. In this situation they do not do any planning, marking, assessing or (theoretically) teaching - they should simply hand out work prepared by the teacher and let the children get on with it - of course we all know that no TA will actually do this and, of course, they will be 'teaching' in some way or another. However, this is the 'official' line and for this reason Level 3's cannot cover PPA time as "active teaching" must be taking place during that time. Lower level TAs should not be left in charge of a whole class for more than a few minutes in an emergency.
    Please find your local authority guidelines - if necessary, telephone your HR department and insist on having them ( or, again, ask someone more senior in the union to do this for you) and make sure your memebers all know what is legally required of them. Unfortunately, our current government will almost certainly allow LEA's to tear up the rules we already have but, at the moment, they should be adhered to - the more heads get away with ignoring them the greater the likliehood of us losing what little protection we have. It was a very sad day when the SSSNB was abandoned.
  5. The misuse of TAs has stopped in my school because I challnged it as union rep. Unfortunately I am not the union the members are. My role is to make them aware of ther rights by providing job descriptions and copies of the work force agreement with relevant parts highlighted. Knowledge is power that is why the SLT don't want you to know things. If I provide the information many members go on to fight their corner. If they need support then I offer it. I have a case just now where the member came to the union for help. He is a level 4 teaching 10 maths classes a week and running the schools PE curriculum. The Head is now harrassing him because the union sent her a letter so that is another case to fight She has told the staff about the letter I sent and told them she is doing nothing wrong and will get support from the LA. I have also written to the LA for supportt stop it. It is an ongoing fight across the city where I live.
  6. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    I totally agree that a union is its membership - one of the problems we had in my LA was that the members would not support action when it was needed and so the Council just rode rough shod over agreements made with the unions because they knew they could - it was extremely frustrating.
    You are obviously doing a good job with your members - I'm afraid I read your first post incorrectly and thought that people were going along with being exploited - unfortunately many, and particularly TAs I'm afraid, do go along with such things for whatever reasons. I have several times had the head come to me and say that TAs in another local school were doing things ours said they shouldn't or vice versa. I am pleased to say that so far I have won these little skirmishes with SMT but we are a small school and it will just take a few TAs who think that it's okay to give up their rights to a break or cover a class when they're not paid to do so and we will have real problems.
    I also wish, as you do, that support staff would refuse to carry out duties which belong to a different role but I despair at the stories I read on here of TAs carrying out an HLTA role for the wage of a level 2 because "It's for the children" or "It shows the Head trusts me" or, worst of all because they believe that they can carry out the role of a qualified teacher better then the teacher can!

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