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Use of HLTAs for cover

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by madonna2, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. I would like to know how much teacher cover is now being taken by HLTAs. Are schools legally allowed to use them for full class teaching? Can they teach literacy and numeracy or just foundation subjects?
     
  2. When I was last in full time at a school the hlta cover thing was just starting. It was only ever meant as first day cover and all classes had to make a file of additional activities in case if teacher absence, we were told proper learning and no 'basket weaving'. We soon found that there was an impact on the child or group they were supporting as they were never replaced so were often cancelled. In my final year at the school I got really cross as one if the TAs, don't think she was hlta and she had previously been a parent helper, was brought in to teach ks1 music when ppa came about. As music specialist it made mad, another teacher who has lost hours as senco specialist teacher got Ks2 music and me with the music degree and subject leader was no longer able to teach even my own kids music.

    So, I think the file still applies and it's meant for emergency cover/first day until cover is properly booked.
     
  3. I was called just last week to take a supply post 5 hrs a week (2.5hrs over 2 days) to teach a class of 30. At HLTA rates. Doing everything a teacher does (behaviour management etc). At HLTA rates. I said NO!! on prinicpal.
     
  4. May principles live, but unfortunately many supply could not afford to turn down cs or ta work or supply work at ta rates and the government got its cover on the cheap.the government had planned this long ago. If there could have been a universal front on the part of supply, (unions would have been great too, but unions were part of the problem), England wouldn't have been able to go down this route. I turned down any requests for working as a ta or cs, on principle, but I can afford to go without the work now if need be.


    Give it enough years and it will tell on the standards of education in the UK. Give it enough years and standards will fall in the UK, further behind the rest of the world, but I'm sure OFSTED's remit won't pick up any government policy failure.
     
  5. There is an E-Petition on this which all concerned need to sign.
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12405
     
  6. The whole situation about the use of support staff is a mess. I have it in writing that the role of teaching assistants was to be considered in the White Paper on Education but it was not mentioned and government ministers are nor prepared to talk about it.
    An example of this mess lies in all the regulations, guidance and national agreements which are so full of contradictions and ambiguities. Examples; regulations/ guidelines that say all classes must have a qualified teacher to teach them but may have a member of the support staff to carry out specified work with them.
    Another example from HLTA Guidelines of Roles and Responsibilities issued by WAMG:-
    HLTAs can be expected to supervise classes but cannot be regularly deployed for cover supervision. The can plan and prepare group activities and teach whole classes but cannot be left alone to work on planning and teaching alone/unsupervised.
    As for the question about the use of HLTAs to cover for teachers here is some information about the number of staff without teaching qualifications who are used for PPA time in Primary schools. These figures come from information provided by 420 primary schools.
    HLTAs taking PPA time 535 in 1236 classes with 33,496 children.
    TAs taking PPA time 454 in 536 classes with 14,426 children
    Unqualified teachers taking PPA time 169 in 399 with 10,813 children
    Total 1158 staff without QTS taking 2171 classes with 58,835 children.
    Compare these figure with the number of teachers who teach during PPA time:
    398 teachers in 1211 classes with 32,818 children.
    To add to these statistics there were a total of 81 unqualified teachers working as class teachers on a part time basis (31) and full time (50)
    So as a percentage just over 61% of the children in these schools were being taught by staff without QTS for a substantial portion of their time - probably in excess of 20% of subject time and I personally think that this is unacceptable.
    I should also add that there were a few schools whose answers to this survey seemed to indicate that not all teachers and classes had PPA time allocated so the figures quoted here would probably be higher in fact.
    Also note that I have not referred to any of this as cover since I did not ask about teacher absences in this survey. There are still many who mistakenly refer to PPA time as being time where cover is needed. Cover only occurs when teachers are absent from a class that they are timetabled to teach and during PPA time they are not timetabled to teach a class.
     
  7. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    What gets me the TDA site actually states that a HLTA or TA should be used to support the teacher and to work with small groups of children under the direction of the teacher, it also states that they should not be used to take whole classes.
    I have emailed the CEO of the TDA to ask many questions, but one includeds why does he not advise the government ban support from covering or teaching lessons, as is the case in Scotland. Guess what, no reply yet and I doubt if I will get one.
     
  8. I may be wrong but I thought if you got something like 140 000 signatures on a petition the issue had to be discussed in parliment. If this is right then we should not just be putting the petition on here but everyone should be putting it on facebook and twitter. I think parents would be outraged if they knew about this. Why do they not know?
    But in responce to the original post in my experience this is rife. I remember when ppa first came in and these jobs were being advertised. However I went into a school I regularly supply at who had just taken on a nqt . Oh let me know if you need anyone to cover her nqt time I said to the ht. I d love to do it. Her reply with a little smile was oh thanks but we ve got that sorted. Yes I thought I bet you have. Using a ta! I also don t understand why ta s agree to this though. It is out of their role and they are hardly paid anymore money. I met a ta with exactly that attitude the other day who had been asked to do cover and said no.
     
  9. I have it on good authority that a growing number of schools are gifting the one'to'one tutor posts to nonspecialist teachers light on their 'tables at the schools in question or to unqualified staff, as a cost cutting exercise.
    The practice whereby specialist pastoral and SEN roles have been downgraded is well entrenched by now in great swathes of this green and pleasant land. A few years back, I noted the disingenuous arguments trotted out by a member of the SLT at one school in Leeds to excuse their hiring a non-teacher to be a Head of Year. They said it had nothing to do with saving money as they wanted to ensure that person hired could devote all their enegies to the role. They made no mention of the fact that they saved at least eight thousand pounds a year by this devious sleight of hand.
    I used to be a Learning Support Teacher. You still see LST posts advertised but, increasingly, they refer to 'tutors' rather than 'teachers'. The difference, for those interested in such matters, is at least one postgraduate teaching qualification and a minimum of three years specialist experience. The same thing is now happening with Learning Mentors, not least because schools can save up to ten grand a year by repackaging SEN roles and enticing desperate teachers to accept the lower rate of pay. It sucks but in the middle of an economic crisis more and more teachers can't afford to be fussy!
    As a human rights campaigner, I am appalled that the largely unregulated supply agencies are at present encouraging schools to offer a teacher in post continuously to sign a new contract, thus circumventing an EU requirement that they be paid properly from that point onwards. This is yet another example of how those at the bottom of the pile are being squeezed beyond endurance at present. One wonders why the regulatory bodies foisted on teaching and the unions are so silent about such matters? I have my own theories about that- but I'll leave that for another day.
     
  10. Thanks for the info on the petition. I will do it right away. I think all supply teachers should be writing to their MPs on this subject. Michael Gove should be bombarded with letters as well. If he wants to improve standards he can start with putting teaching back in the hands of teachers!
     
  11. Thanks for the stats, Bronco. It is more alarming than I thought. I know there are money constraints on schools but it seems like our own colleagues ( Headteachers) are selling us down the river. Also, why have the unions allowed this situation to happen? Its not the first time I have cause to regret leaving a good job as a scientist to enter the teaching profession.
     
  12. Another observation which I think tells a tale is this: A few years ago, when using unqualified staff to cover teachers was on the cusp of becoming common practice, there were many heated debates on TES about it, and supply teachers were sometimes rubbished by permanent teachers, heads or tas. Strange that supply teachers who have taken on the cs or ta role are not now "rubbished", now that they cost 50% of before. Where are all the threads about how rubbish cs or ta cover is, coming from schools or permanent teachers? You really would expect more, although some may well be individually stellar, taken as a national trend you'd expect some detection of very poor cs or tas. I've come across some very poor tas (as well as very good ones). The rubbishing of supply, was always politically and cost motivated. The unions which agreed to it sold their souls to get ppa and rarely cover in the deal. Maybe when the permanent staff realise that their job prospects even pension funds will be in future undermined, (smaller proportion of staff paying into TP), maybe then will we hear more honest and critical comments from permanent staff.


    It always was about cost cutting. It means the UK can boast it is creating the cheapest education service. If it had set about creating the best education service for our pupils, the route travelled would have been very different.
     
  13. Yes, there is no denying that the unions have sold their soul to the devil with respect to PPA. It also bears mentioning that they act as guilds, hence all the fuss over pensions, a cause which affects the majority of their core demographic!
    Of late, I have seen some of the posts which I apply for downgraded (vis a vis the LST sleight of hand) or relabelled (many agencies are now substituting 'learning mentor' for 'SEN teacher') in order to save schools money. Despite the Lamb Inquiry recommendations, the fact is that academies are not alone in pushing out the door those who are deemed to be holding back a school. The human rights implications of these shameful practices needs must get an airing at EU level because nothing ever seems to be done about them here in this arsey-versey land of ours.
     
  14. Can I just say that if raising such concerns with the GTC or the unions is a fool's errand then asking the TDA to respond to any reasonable request is an equally dissatisfying experience in the current climate.
    Now that the roles which I have filled in the past are being routinely downgraded and gifted to underqualified and unqualified staff, I have gritted my teeth and endeavoured to acquire more qualifications* at a time when I am either unemployed or underemployed. A course provider in Birmingham mentioned that there may be some funding available next year from the TDA to complete a QTVI course yet the TDA have refused to confirm or deny this. Indeed, I received a belated email from them stating that they could not read the attachment which I had sent which- which is odd as no such attachment exists. I mention this because I was not told about or given any meaningful assistance to secure funding for a Rose Review funded course, thanks in no small part to the widespread belief that those in my position have outlived their usefulness.
    * including a CPCAB (counselling), BSL 101 (sign language) and a PGCPSE (literacy difficulties) in the past two years.
     
  15. All of this is so way off the improving schools agenda. Do we really need teachers to cover a class and give out the work and supervise? How odd is that? The fact is that the silly union workload reactions combined with an even sillier government (ex) led to workforce reforms to give expensive teachers more time. As money becomes less, so the huge back office bureacracy created has to earn its keep. LTs see such a process as protecting front line staff and no petition will ever change what is going on. Welcome to the broken system of education UK style. The point about non teaching staff being employed as form tutors is interesting. Personally, this is pretty silly in schools that are still backward enough to run year systems and think this is OK. In a vertical tutor system, anyone joining the school in almost any capacity should be trained to be tutoring alongside teachers in the front line. School improvement requires the whole school to be working as a seamless support operation rather than the sylos we have, or so it seems to me. I wish you well though and understand these concerns. To create more teachers means dismissing support staff probably in a 2:1 ratio. Not nice!
     
  16. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    My almost useless MP (and I told him so, as well), as wrote to both Nick Gibb and Tim Loughton on issues in respect to unemployed teachers and the use of CS in the past, the replies from the so called ministers was laughable. I got my previous MP, who was a minister in the last Labour government to contact Ed Balls, without success, which was not suprising when my former MP said to me at a meeting 'there is no difference between a cover supervisor and a supply teacher'. I was move to a new constituency before the election, but I laughed my socks off when my former MP was kicked out off parliament by the high court and parliament itself for making false stories up about an opponet.
    However I have got my present MP to write to Mr Gove with 8 questions for him to answer, which his department have failed to answer in numerous Emails. They still have to reply to an email I sent to them a week ago on a different issue. So use your MP's as much as possible and don't let up on them, after all they get well paid for the job they are meant to do.
     

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