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Teaching Assistants Pay and Conditions

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Yvonne Keen, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. Why do we, as TAs, put up with such poor pay and conditions? I am currently on the lowest pay scale for my LA (12,500-13,600 ish pro rata per year) and yet I have been given a timetable to deliver 3 SEN provisions to small groups of children per day on top of supporting all timetabled lessons throughout the day up to 2.30 pm each day. My pay amounts to £112 per week (approx) for 4 days from 9 to 2.30 pm. Is this normal or particularly low? I am degree educated and have done a Teaching Assistant course too.
    I realise that a lot of it is to do with supply and demand but I feel so demoralised. I realise too that I should be happy to be in a job at the moment but I put my heart and soul into this job and feel that it is so unrewarded in terms of pay and recognition.
  2. I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say it is supply and demand. Why can schools get away with paying such **** money? Because there is always a huge army of people seemingly desperate to work as TAs.
    Actually, on an hourly basis, many TA jobs are quite well paid. The problem stems from the work being part-time and term time only.
    I also think there is a lot of snobbery in schools. The teaching staff are given all the status as "professionals" and are paid accordingly. Support staff are generally seen as low skilled / non professional and perhaps in the old days, they largely were. Times have changed and TAs take on more and more, but do not get the recognition for this.
    If you have a degree, perhaps you should go into teaching instead. At least you'd be paid a decent salary (if you can find a job that is!)
  3. I have a good salary in theory, it is however, pulled down by TTO deducations. I take it on the chin as at the end of the day we do get a lot of holidays and you can't expect the school to pay you for them. I think it's very unfair to compare Teachers and TAs salaries as we don't have the same responsibilities at all, ultimately if children fail to meet their targets (even children that you directly work with) the buck stops with them and they have to explain themselves and to some extent you
    Being degree educated doesnt really hold much bearing on this job, I am also degree educated but I accept that I am working in a role that does not require that level of qualification. It is your right to negotiate your pay before accepting employment and if you don't then you can't complain. I negotiated 2 points on the scale which is only about an extra £700, but its better than nothing.
    You're timetable is quite normal for a TA, although I expect you are a TA Level 1 based on your salary, so the small groups you work with should really be in the classroom and not outside the main teaching area.
    I know the pay isn't the best part of the job, but it's one you will have to live with. LAs will not be increasing the salaries of TAs anytime soon.
  4. NQT1986

    NQT1986 Occasional commenter

    Yes-as you say, it's supply and demand. About half of the parents in my son's class have been applying for LSA roles as they fit in with the school holidays whereas most other part time jobs don't.

    Unfortunately, although you have a degree; having one isn't a prerequisite to the job, so you won't get paid as a graduate. Why don't you see if there are any jobs in your area and do teacher training instead?

    I can't see the situation improving much either :(
  5. Thank you everyone, your comments are absolutely correct if not encouraging.

  6. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    Supply and demand it is . . .and as we watch unemployment go up and the number of assistants schools can afford go down we'll see pay and conditions for assistants go down.
    I do hope no one who complains voted for this Government - I personally think that the last Governments didn't treat assistants well but this one will make them look generous
  7. What concerns me is the recent trend for vacancies to be advertised as term time only. Our union rep told us a couple of years back that the way pay is calculated pro rata we get paid a certain number of weeks ( can't remember exactly how many she said, something like 35 I think) a year but this is spread over 52 weeks so that we get paid during holidays. So if you apply for a job that says term time only I think they are taking the holiday weeks off the 35 weeks. So in actual fact you are losing about a further 12 weeks pay a year.
    Can anyone clarify this?
  8. I'm afraid it sounds pretty usual to me. I worked in school as a TA for seven years. For most of that time I was on the bottom of the TA scale; eventually I was paid slightly more -TA level three but pro rated - working out at less than £10,000pa for a full week from 8.30am (I actually worked from 7.30/8am every day) until 4pm. I had marking to take home each night and lesson planning also. Throughout the time I delivered catch -up sessions in numeracy and literacy to groups of children throughout key stage 2 on a regular timetabled basis. I also provided specialist SEN support to individuals and in class support whereever it was needed. In addition I taught whole classes two whole afternoons a week -planning, delivering lessons and marking the work. Eventually I had an extra responsibility given to me which necessitated me working throughout my break and lunch times too -and not surprisingly I became very unwell! However, I loved my job, but there was much too much of it! I also did a considerable number of TA courses -all in my own time - and also have HLTA status.I really sympathise with you.
  9. Yes, I can. It's usually 39 weeks, and that is exactly what "term time only" means. Your pay will be earned during term time only but paid to you over the year in 12 equal installments, in arrears. That way, you'll be paid during the holidays but not have paid holidays.
    Why should schools not pay for TAs' long holidays? They pay teachers for their hols, and TAs don't even get paid for having a coffee break even though they, like I always used to, probably use their unpaid breaks to catch up on their admin. I can't stand pompous austerity propaganda. A labourer is worthy of his hire. Full stop.
    For those advising a teaching career to TAs with degrees: it's not that simple, getting a qualification; there is no guarantee that you'll be accepted into a work-based scheme, and you may be unable to afford any other type of study.
  10. You can work your salary out like this: say your pay was £10.000 divide this by 365 (days a year) then you will get a daily rate, times this by 314 (amount of days you actually work in school) and you will get the actual amount you earn a year, hope this helps. I actually worked out that I lose over £2.000 a year for being term time only!!
  11. Term time only pay is actually 39 weeks PLUS holiday pay (this is a legal entitlement I believe) the amount of holiday pay you get will depend on your LEA and length of service for example my LEA pay 4 weeks holiday pay which jumps to 5 weeks after 5 years service HOWEVER this holiday pay is also subject to pro rata so you will end up with I dunno 3 and a half weeks or so holiday pay.

    Teachers DO NOT get 13 weeks paid holiday they are also in effect paid term time only but it isn't called that for them, they are paid for a set number of hours (which I can never remember) and this is then divided over 12 months as a salary. On top of that set number of hours their contracts require them to do however may extra hours it takes to get their job done. Anyone suggesting TAs should have similar contracts must be insane!
  12. I tried to get aTA job last year as I wanted to work in a school for a year before I started my PGCE (which I have now just begun). I applied for every job going, got two inverviews and no job offer. I would have worked for peanuts for the experience in a school it would have given me. I also think I would have been a good TA as I have been so on a voluntary basis many times.
    It's very simply really. A lot of people want to do the job and a lot of people are willing to do it for the pay they are offereing. I do not mean to sound negative but TA's are being "let go" left, right and centre at the moment so if it is a job you like and want to stay in then you should be pleased you still have a possition.
  13. bea


    And may God help the TA who works with you.
    It's one thing to work for a while being paid peanuts to get a bit of experience, but another when its the full time job you've become highly qualifed/specilised in over 10 years (Even if it's ONLY as a TA). And there are a lot of us who have. Schools use their TA's differently, but compared to what was expected of them and what they have to do now, pay has not kept an equal pace and TA's do not get paid a proper wage.
  14. If you dont want the job then there are plenty of others who do - in the current climate you should be, as you say. 'happy to be in a job'. We all know the deal when we go in to the job of TA - yes the pay is not the best but you get out of it what you put in - if you have a good relationship with the kids and they make progress then that means a lot. The money might be 'low' but it is spread out over the year - it might be nice to have a better payslip each month but where would you be if you didnt get any money at all over the nice long holiday breaks.
    You have a degree - do something with it!
  15. champansara

    champansara New commenter

    The problem is there are a high number of people who want to do the job for the wrong reasons, and the schools will employ them because they are cheap. IMO employing people as TAs whose main motivation is that they are parents and it fits in with their kids holiday is the WRONG motivation, and does nothing to elevate the status or quality of TAs. They should be employing TAs with good qualifications, and/or experience, who are motivated through a real desire to be involved in education.
  16. NQT1986

    NQT1986 Occasional commenter

    Very true, but people with good qualifications and experience quite rightfully ask for more money as they have good qualifications and are worth more, however, as there is no money in education and cuts about to me made, no extra money can be found.
  17. mjx


    In my first TA job back in 1999 (when we were classroom assistants) I was paid just under £5,000 a year for 25 hours a week.
  18. mjx


    Accidently posted, oops!
    In my second job as an SEN TA I got a little more a year for the same hours. Roll on a few years to 2005 and I was on £8,000 a year for 25 hours.
    So the pay HAS got better, but it won't be any better than it is unless you are very VERY lucky.
    It's why I did a degree and looked into the options for training to be teachers, and sadly things haven't panned out for me the way I have planned them.


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