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Teaching assistants' training fund scrapped

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by gailrobinson, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. Hello all,
    Thought you would want to see this press release we've just had in from Unison.
    Unison today accused the government of breathtaking short-term thinking that could damage children’s education, after learning that the teaching assistants’ training fund has been scrapped.

    A letter from the Training Development Agency for schools (TDA) revealed the budget for training higher level teaching assistants (HLTA’s) has been cancelled for the 2010/11 school year.

    Earlier this month, a UNISON survey showed that, following new guidance* on class cover, teaching assistants are increasingly being asked to step in and cover for absent teachers, without being given enough training or support.

    The union is calling on schools to plan properly for absences, or risk damaging children's education. A vital part of proper planning is having enough teaching assistants trained to HLTA status, who have the right skills to cover classes for short periods, when teachers are not available.

    Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Education, said:

    “The government is playing fast and loose with children's educational needs. What schools desperately need are more teaching assistants trained to HLTA level. Now they are being told there is no money available.

    “There is a clear need for more teaching assistants to be trained to a higher level. Earlier this month, a UNISON survey revealed that all too often teaching assistants are being called on to cover for absent teachers without enough training. It is simply not fair on the staff or the children that only 27% had the HLTA training they need to cover for teachers on a short-term basis.

    “By cutting 100% of the funds available for training teaching assistants the government will only make matters worse.”

  2. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    I have just phoned our HLTA worforce development officer. He hasnt seen this yet. INTERESTING.......
    makes me wonder if they will now use level 3 staff instead!
  3. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    I was told that this would happen several years ago by someone in our LEA!
    To be fair, schools have been having TAs assessed with absolutely no intention of employing them as an HLTA purely because the funding for training was available - far more have achieved the status in our LA than are employed in the role so there may be a bit of a silver lining in that all those HLTAs might finally get a job when heads realise that the HLTA is actually very cost-effective - and pigs might well fly too!

    FAIRYDELL New commenter

    Our head has told me in no uncertain terms that my HLTA status will never be recognised and it is likely to fizzle out because of budget constraints!
  5. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    So who is going to cover al the PPA and rarely cover in schools. Did he tell you that? Or are teachers going to lose PPA and have to cover absent colleagues?
  6. PPA is covered in many schools by teachers and/or instructors. We have never used a TA to cover PPA or staff absence and never will. I think the writing is on the wall as far as HLTAs are concerned.
  7. Oh Gawd!
    Does anyone remember that the original 'purpose' of HLTA was NOT for providing cover. In fact, one set of guidance notes explicitly said that 'cover was not an appropriate use of HLTAs'.
    The original concept was of a TA who had a higher level of TA skills, expertise in a specific area of support or behaviour management, or management responsibilities (i.e managing other TAs).
    I have watched with absolute horror as the concept of HLTAs being substitute teachers has taken hold and the emphasis on higher level TAing skills has been completely lost sight of.
    I don't think that HLTAs should be teaching whole classes at all. [​IMG]
  8. Anyone know where you can get a copy of this announcement as no one seems to be aware of it in my school?
  9. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    Its on the Unison Website.
  10. Teachers and TAs need to get in touch with their Unions to seek action. If we take this "lying down" eventually, TAs will disappear from classrooms, teachers will lose trained classroom support and then their PPA time.
    There is now no longer any clear career development pathway for Support staff.
    LAs have no "other funding" to use for support staff training and schools will not prioritise it!
    What about equal opportunities? At least TAs had the chance to get the status even if they were not employed as an HLTA.
  11. I am wondering if this will end the HLTA role in schools?
    If no new HLTA's are being trained then the status itself begins to lose
    I am beginning to think that I am the kiss of death to TA courses - I
    did the STAC course and it was promptly abolished in favour of HLTA and I
    have just completed the HLTA and it's not going to be funded anymore.
    Are we going to see the end of highly trained and relatively well paid TA's and back to an unqualified 'mums army' there simply to photocopy and sharpen pencils?
    The tide has certainly turned and if schools begin to cut TA support then those who are higher on the pay scale will be more dispensible!
  12. Why will teachers lose PPA time if HLTA is phased out? Many schools have never used TAs to 'teach' classes for PPA time but have employed a part-time teacher or instructors in PE, music etc.Maybe PPA time will disappear- maybe teachers will not need it if the govt gets rid of some of the pointless paperwork now. In our school TAs do what TAs do best-support pupils' learning.
  13. bluebell27

    bluebell27 New commenter

    Not really sure how this is going to affect the education of children. What it will do is limit the number of TAs with HLTA status but that does not mean there are no more TAs working at this level. After all TAs should already be working at a high standard in order to gain HLTA. [possibly gained through school training /local authority/ inset training alongside teachers or specialised SEN courses]
    So HLTA status just shows others what standard TAs are working at. Head teachers don't necessarily need that as they should already know.
    In addition, not all TAs are covering classes even those working at HLTA standard and if cuts have to be made I would rather they cut courses like this rather than jobs.

  14. No such thing as PPA in FE Colleges - we just cover for colleagues and lose Duty/Prep time. Bring in academies, "free" schools, and demand led funding and contestability will be next.
    I can see all education being provided on an FE type model in future.
  15. Teaching assistant jobs are at serious risk in the forthcoming public spending cuts, and this decision now to axe all central government support for TA training is not a good omen.

    One of the Conservatives' favourite think tanks, Reform, is proposing that all teaching assistant jobs in "most schools" are phased out. (Google "Reform Budget 2010" to find their latest recommendations. The education section starts on page 69.)

    We've started a campaign to save teaching assistant jobs, and get the training budget restored: http://weneedtas.blogspot.com

    Frances Rickford
    Learning Support magazine
  16. Well Said Bluebell
  17. Hi,
    Firstly a bit about myself!
    I am a HLTA and employed as one (rare I know.) I work in a secondary school. I manage a team of SEN Teaching Assistant's in a learning support office. I do thier timetables, apprasials, meetings etc. I work alongside the SENCO (I say im a cheap senco assistant) I have also worked alot with the transition officer during the year time and completed all the SEN admin, meeting with parents, visits to school etc. I do some basic numeracy groups too and Acccelerated Reading groups. I work with the Speech & Language therapist once a month in school and carry out her planned work throught the week with around 10 pupils. I also do the SLPD groups with a speialist although I hope to get this qualification next year.[​IMG]
    I cover only 4 lesson per week which I state I am free to do, if Im not needed them lessons I do IEP writing, observations, etc. I agree that a HLTA shouldnt be used soley to cover as this is a waste of skills! The HLTA status wasnt brought in for this reason and I believe that there should be a national standards for TA's & HLTA's for both pay and job descriptions. The think that worries me is that I still dont have a job description so at anytime my role can be changed.
    I have done the foundation degree and im now on my last year of the BA honours in teaching and learning. I hope to do more qualifications next although I disagree in the assistant senco being a qualified teacher (again I think its a way of getting someone who can cover lessons)
    I hope this has been interesting for others to see but again I think until we have national recognition in both pay and roles nothing will change! [​IMG]
  18. I think some aspects of the curriculum HTLAs are very capable of teaching, especially where the TA has specialised understanding. Conversely, I have also seen qualified teachers take on teaching roles in which they are totally inadequate.
  19. I have just finished a degree in education and was hoping to start my career as a HLTA. I found out quite quickly when enquiring about courses that funding had been cut. My LA told me no courses are being run for AT LEAST 2010/11, with no guarantees of training starting again the following year. Now where does that leave me? I have Spanish as a specialism and have experience in planning and teaching my own lessons. I had been assured that a school would snap me up, but now the government has basically removed the status, that puts me at least a year behind in my career, and any other job wouldn't use my skills properly. The alternative is educational administration, but I didn't do a three year course working with children to end up sat behind a desk! All the government has done is show how much they disrespect TAs and their skills and go back on their promises to treat them more fairly. The idea of relying on a 'mum's army' is quite frankly demeaning and would not support the children or teachers in their education. It's all a bit two faced really when the govnmt had said it would increase graduate jobs and prioritise education...

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