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Using TA's

Discussion in 'Primary' started by cleggy1611, May 16, 2007.

  1. cleggy1611

    cleggy1611 New commenter

    I've just read a thread below about work life balance and it seems to come down to ta useage. Someone said that they don't use their ta for admin as it 'isn't fair on the children' and they don't trust them to put up displays or photocopy as they can't do it properly.

    If this is the case - why has the school employed them! I use my TA for all admin and display work. She is part time and is fantastic at her job.

    How can using a TA for admin work not be fair on the children? If they don't do it, the teacher has to. Surely this is even less fair on the children (if you're actually that bothered)as the teacher is being taken away from planning good lessons to deal with some trivial admin task.

  2. cleggy1611

    cleggy1611 New commenter

    I've just read a thread below about work life balance and it seems to come down to ta useage. Someone said that they don't use their ta for admin as it 'isn't fair on the children' and they don't trust them to put up displays or photocopy as they can't do it properly.

    If this is the case - why has the school employed them! I use my TA for all admin and display work. She is part time and is fantastic at her job.

    How can using a TA for admin work not be fair on the children? If they don't do it, the teacher has to. Surely this is even less fair on the children (if you're actually that bothered)as the teacher is being taken away from planning good lessons to deal with some trivial admin task.

  3. Why has the school employed them indeed??? I have worked in schools with absolutely fantastic TAs, who were naturals and seemed to know exactly what was required. In the same schools I've worked with TAs who actually take more supervising than the children and who made a mess of any job no matter how simple and how carefully it was explained. Many of the TAs I have had experience started as parent helpers and ended up with paid positions. I hope that now TAs role is more defined and with more structured pay that heads take more care in the selection procedure.
  4. In my school - TA's are to be seen with children at all times and definitely shouldn't be doing admin/display jobs. I personally believe there are pros and cons to both - it definitely makes my job more difficult but I think that the children are getting more support, guidance and scaffolding.

    I would be very interested to know the opinion of others? Or the role of TA's in other schools!

  5. I have never had a TA before but have been told I will have a TA for two mornings a week, starting September. Is it up to each school what their TA is used for, or is there a standard expectation? I want to make the most of having an extra pair of hands, of course, but don't want to cause friction by asking to do unrealistic jobs! Any info would be lovely....
  6. katrinahunt

    katrinahunt New commenter

    Hi, I'm a TA and you're right we're a mixed bunch, there are some who can do most aspects of the job as good as the class teacher, then there are others who would find it hard to find which end of the pencil to sharpen!

    It's about finding out the TA's strengths and using them, some have aflair for display work some ICT...

    We generally don't mind being asked to do anything as long as we know how to do it or are given a bit of initial time to find out.

    A log book of jobs is always good with some priority system so we don't feel everything has to be done yesterday.
  7. If TAs can't be doing displays and admin (photocopying etc.) who is supposed to be doing it?! Certainly not the teachers; displays & photocopying are among the 25 tasks that teachers should no longer be doing...
  8. I'm always interested to hear how other schools work when this subject is raised.

    It would appear that schools roughly fall into two camps; those that allocate TAs to teachers/classes and those that allocate to children/sets.

    I work (as HLTA) in a school that does the latter. It means that a TA can work in several different classrooms throughout the day/week. The emphasis is on raising the achievement of the children, so our time must be used to support them in some way. In fact, it becomes part of our performance management targets e.g. helping to raise group A's writing by 2/3 level.

    Of course we help with things like copying if we can, but we have to be careful that we are not seen doing this during lesson time. There are ways of helping the teacher without going out of the classroom - like marking the homework whilst the teacher is doing the maths starter or organising appointments for parents evening. However, the majority of the time we are working with the children.

  9. These are a lot of the jobs that TA's are allowed/expected to do:
    Support for the pupil

    For all pupils with whom the Teaching Assistant comes into contact. Many Teaching Assistants are employed with specific responsibilities to work with individual pupils with special educational needs. Others are given more general classroom responsibilities. However even those who work mainly with one child will come into regular and close contact with other pupils; indeed, it is central to the whole principle of inclusion that a pupil who has physical or learning difficulties should be helped to work in the company of other pupils, and often in tandem with them.

    ?Attend to the pupils? personal needs, and implement related personal programmes, including social, health, physical, hygiene, first aid and welfare matters
    ?Supervise and support pupils ensuring their safety and access to learning
    ?Establish good relationships with pupils, acting as a role model and being aware of and responding appropriately to individual needs
    ?Promote the inclusion and acceptance of all pupils
    ?Encourage pupils to interact with others and engage in activities led by the teacher
    ?Encourage pupils to act independently as appropriate
    ?Assist with the development and implementation of Individual Education/Behaviour Plans and Personal Care programmes
    ?Set challenging and demanding expectations and promote self-esteem and independence
    ?Provide feedback to pupils in relation to progress and achievement under guidance of the teacher?Use specialist (curricular/learning) skills/training/experience to support pupils
    ?Support pupils consistently whilst recognising and responding to their individual needs
    ?Promote independence and employ strategies to recognise and reward achievement of self-reliance
    ?Assess the needs of pupils and use detailed knowledge and specialist skills to support pupils? learning
    ?Develop and implement IEPs
    ?Receive and supervise pupils excluded from, or otherwise not working to, a normal timetable
    ?Participate in comprehensive assessment of pupils to determine those in need of particular help
    ?Support provision for pupils with special needs
    ?Develop 1:1 mentoring arrangements with pupils and provide support for distressed pupils
    ?Promote the speedy/effective transfer of pupils across phases/integration of those who have been absent
    ?Provide information and advice to enable pupils to make choices about their own learning/behaviour/attendance
    ?Challenge and motivate pupils, promote and reinforce self-esteem
    ?Using equipment as required maintaining pupils? needs and supporting their participation in learning tasks and activities.
    ?Assisting in ensuring that the length of time spent on tasks and activities is consistent with the individual pupil?s needs.
    ?Assisting pupils to carry out schemes of work and programmes set by teaching staff.
    ?Working with pupils on individual targets set by a member of the teaching staff.

    Support for the Teacher.

    Involves Teaching Assistants performing a number of routine tasks, such as escorting groups of young pupils to work areas outside the classroom. However, as experience of the implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies has shown, it is now common and desirable for teachers also to allocate Teaching Assistants tasks that were once done by the teacher. Teaching Assistants are, for example, sometimes engaged in important aspects of assessing pupils Literacy and Numeracy performance, and in supporting group work assigned by the class teacher. In this a number of Teaching Assistants are following the lead of Nursery Nurses who have for some time brought their understanding of child development to bear on work in observation and assessment.
    The development of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies has seen a significant growth in involvement in these areas of the curriculum by Teaching Assistants in primary schools. Teaching Assistants are often required to work across other parts of the curriculum, and supporting teaching in subjects such as physical education and information and communications technology (ICT).

    ?Prepare classroom as directed for lessons and clear afterwards and assist with the display of pupils work
    ?Be aware of pupil problems/progress/achievements and report to the teacher as agreed
    ?Undertake pupil record keeping as requested
    ?Support the teacher in managing pupil behaviour, reporting difficulties as appropriate
    ?Gather/report information from/to parents/carers as directed
    ?Provide clerical/admin. Support e.g. photocopying, typing, filing, collecting money etc.
    ?Create and maintain a purposeful, orderly and supportive environment, in accordance with lesson plans and assist with the display of pupils? work
    ?Use strategies, in liaison with the teacher, to support pupils to achieve learning goals
    ?Assist with the planning of learning activities
    ?Monitor pupils? responses to learning activities and accurately record achievement/progress as directed
    ?Provide detailed and regular feedback to teachers on pupils achievement, progress, problems etc.
    ?Promote good pupil behaviour, dealing promptly with conflict and incidents in line with established policy and encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own behaviour
    ?Establish constructive relationships with parents/carers.
    ?Work with the teacher in lesson planning, evaluating and adjusting lessons/work plans as appropriate
    ?Monitor and evaluate pupils? responses to learning activities through observation and planned recording of achievement against pre-determined learning objectives
    ?Provide objective and accurate feedback and reports as required, to the teacher on pupil achievement, progress and other matters, ensuring the availability of appropriate evidence
    ?Be responsible for keeping and updating records as agreed with the teacher, contributing to reviews of systems/records as requested
    ?Promote positive values, attitudes and good pupil behaviour, dealing promptly with conflict and incidents in line with established policy and encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own behaviour
    ?Work within an established discipline policy to anticipate and manage behaviour constructively, promoting self control and independence
    ?Production of lesson plans, worksheet, plans etc.
    ?Liaise with feeder schools and other relevant bodies to gather pupil information
    ?Support pupils? access to learning using appropriate strategies, resources etc.
    ?Work with other staff in planning, evaluating and adjusting learning activities as appropriate
    ?Assist in the development and implementation of appropriate behaviour management strategies
    ?Assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of systems relating to attendance and integration
    ?Clerical/admin support e.g. dealing with correspondence, compilation/ analysis/reporting on attendance, exclusions etc., making phone calls etc.
    ?Manage record keeping systems and processes
    ?Assisting in the preparation and reproduction of learning materials.
    ?Assisting in the deployment of equipment and resources and making them ready for use and in organising the teaching environment.
    ?Overseeing the care and cleanliness of the teaching environment, equipment, apparatus and materials.
    Assisting in the preparation of display materials.
    ?Raising awareness of teaching staff to the strengths and problems of individual pupils.
    ?Liaising with the SENCO and teaching staff, to identify the needs of the pupils.
    ?Assisting in the preparation and review of I.E.Ps.

    Support for the School.

    Teaching Assistants are not just part of the staff but are part of a team, and as such their remit includes translating school polices into practice and furthering the ethos of the school.

    These four forms of support provided by the Teaching Assistant are not separate but interdependent, and at any time a Teaching Assistant may well be involved in an activity in which two or more forms of support are being given.
    But these four strands of support are only one part of the story. They can be regarded as the support provided by the Teaching Assistant. At the same time the school has a responsibility to support the Teaching Assistant in fulfilling the expectations of the role. This is the support provided for the Teaching Assistant. This obligation calls for consideration both of the way Teaching Assistants are managed and of their professional development needs: management support should enable them to perform the job to the best of their abilities, and they should be encouraged to develop their skills and potential.
    Clearly, this view of two-way support requires the close cooperation of class teachers with whom Teaching Assistants work, as well as of heads and other managers.

    ?Be aware of and comply with policies and procedures relating to child protection, health, safety and security, confidentiality and data protection, reporting all concerns to an appropriate person
    ?Be aware of and support difference and ensure all pupils have equal access to opportunities to learn and develop
    ?Appreciate and support the role of other professionals
    ?Attend relevant meetings as required
    ?Participate in training and other learning activities and performance development as required
    ?Assist with the supervision of pupils out of lesson times, including before and after school and at lunchtimes
    ?Accompany teaching staff and pupils on visits, trips and out of school activities as required
    ?Recognise own strengths and areas of expertise and use these to advise and support others
    ?Provide appropriate guidance and supervision and assist in the training and development of staff as appropriate
    ?Deliver learning activities to pupils within agreed system of supervision, adjusting activities according to pupil responses/needs
    ?Deliver local and national learning strategies e.g. literacy, numeracy, KS3, early years and make effective use of opportunities provided by other learning activities to support the development of pupils? skills
    ?Use ICT effectively to support learning activities and develop pupils? competence and independence in its use
    ?Select and prepare resources necessary to lead learning activities, taking account of pupils? interests and language and cultural backgrounds
    ?Advise on appropriate deployment and use of specialist aid/resources/equipment
    ?Contribute to the overall ethos/work/aims of the school
    ?Establish constructive relationships and communicate with other agencies/professionals, in liaison with the teacher, to support achievement and progress of pupils
    ?Take the initiative as appropriate to develop appropriate multi-agency approaches to supporting pupils
    ?Assisting in maintaining a safe environment for pupils.
    ?Assisting in the supervision of pupils during the day and in the playground/school grounds as required.
    ?Assisting in ensuring that pupils adhere to the behaviour policy of the school and providing feedback to teaching staff and senior colleagues on the effectiveness of strategies used.
    ?Assisting in the preparation of reports on pupils as appropriate.
    ?Liaising with parents and other parties as required.
    ?Participation in meetings to review pupil progress and reporting to the meeting as required on your involvement with the pupil.
    ?Assisting in the planning and direction of the work of teaching assistants.
    ?Liaising with teaching staff and other colleagues, to ensure adequate levels of support are available to teaching staff and pupils.
    ?Under the direction of teaching staff, overseeing lunchtime supervision, monitoring the quality of lunchtime support.
    ?Assisting in carrying out whole school responsibilities i.e. minibus, Health & Safety.
    ?Managing the planning and direction of the work of teaching assistants.

    Support for the Curriculum.

    This will vary from school to school and dependant on role in school.

    ?Support pupils to understand instructions
    ?Support pupils in respect of local and national learning strategies e.g. literacy, numeracy, KS3, early years, as directed by the teacher
    ?Support the use of ICT in learning activities and develop pupils? competence and independence in its use
    ?Prepare and maintain equipment/resources as directed by the teacher and assist pupils in their use
    ?Undertake structured and agreed learning activities/teaching programmes, adjusting activities according to pupil responses
    ?Undertake programmes linked to local and national learning strategies e.g. literacy, numeracy,KS3, early years recording achievement and progress and feeding back to the teacher
    ?Implement agreed learning activities/teaching programmes, adjusting activities according to pupil responses/needs
    ?Determine the need for, prepare and maintain general and specialist equipment and resources
    ?Select and prepare resources necessary to lead learning activities, taking account of pupils? interests and language and cultural backgrounds
    ?Be aware of and appreciate a range of activities, courses, organisations and individuals to provide support for pupils to broaden and enrich their learning
    ?Assisting in the preparation of work and other activities for pupils in accordance with objectives set by teaching staff.
    ?Under guidance and direction of teaching staff, planning and delivering activities.

    Supporting Learning

    It is important that all staff within the school understand the role of the Teaching Assistant. Whilst the teacher has responsibility for programme planning, setting objectives, resources and teaching methods, the Teaching Assistant should be part of a working and planning team.
    Teaching Assistants should be clear about issues of confidentiality. They should have copies of school policies on Special Educational Needs, Behaviour, Bullying and Equal Opportunities as well as with accident and emergency procedures.
    The Teaching Assistants may find it useful to see a copy of the child's/pupil/s' statement and/or IEP.
    The SENCO should keep in regular contact with the Teaching Assistant to give support and advice when necessary.
    The Teaching Assistant should know what programme of work he/she is to carry out with the child/pupil/s and how and when this is to be done.
    The school's Behaviour Policy will highlight the rewards and sanctions used within the school and what standards of work and behaviour are acceptable. The Teaching Assistant should adhere to these to aid continuity.
    All pupils should be aware of the Teaching Assistants role so that they know who to ask for help in different situations.
    Teaching Assistants should endeavour to avoid singling out the pupil/s with SEN as being 'different'.
    Teaching Assistants should ensure that the pupil/s in his/her care are as independent as possible.
    Teaching Assistants should be encouraged to work with the teacher in joint planning and in regularly reviewing the work and progress of the child/pupil/s. This should include the setting of new targets.

    Both the teacher and Teaching Assistant should negotiate:
    1. Who will deal with misbehaviour;
    2. Who will mark the pupil's work and how;
    3. Whether the Teaching Assistant should give permission for pupils to leave the classroom to go to the toilet etc.

    Negotiation should promote flexible working arrangements so that all pupils' benefit from support i.e. the teacher works in the classroom with the pupil with SEN whilst the Teaching Assistant supervises the rest of the class.
    Negotiation should result in a clear system of recording and the Teaching Assistant should give copies of records regularly to the class teacher or SENCO.
    The Teaching Assistant should be provided with all necessary resources prior to each lesson.
  10. Oooooh ouch Cleggy! That 'someone' appears to be me!!!
    I just feel the children benefit from the TA support so much and that's a lot to sacrifice for the photocopying etc...
    If I had someone full time or even half time perhaps it would be different. But my hour a day is precious!
  11. cleggy1611

    cleggy1611 New commenter

    Yes I appreciate that but so is the teacher's. If the teacher can't get someone to do at least some of their 25 tasks in that hour, who is going to do it?
  12. Photocopying: we have a box in the office. We put in our master with a note of how many copies are needed and when for (NOT yesterday!!) and the secretay will do it for us. Only works if you're organised so I still sometimes end up doing my own.
  13. What is more, there are many teachers who are less capable at teaching, class management and display.

    Recently, I worked as a TA in a school in Hackney. Each evening I left school in deep sorrow and agony at the level of teaching and method of class control in a Yr. 3 class. I was so willing and ready to help, but, I was not given the opportunity (not to take over the class, but to help the children and teacher as much as possible). The teacher spent more time marring the children's education by having them turning their face to the wall and giving penalties for the slightest thing. Further, there was no consideration for the ones who presented with learning difficulties and most of the lessons were absolutely terrible.

    One such lesson is still burning in my mind, it had to do with a project on Malawi and they were looking at its weather and climate. Now, I was told that good teachers teach from the known to the unknown. What an opportunity the teacher had to explain the term 'weather' by just looking at the day they had so far. It was either rainy or overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. She could have had a weather chart where the children noted the changes in the weather each day or at least for the week they were working on the project. Also, she could have them cut clippings from Newspapers or have recordings of the weather report from the TV and facilitate discussions. I was also appalled at not seeing her use one single thermometer to sort of help them to understand the term temperature. Time will not allow me to highlight all in terms of poor lesson planning or lack of it here.

    My outcry is for parents to look at what is happening in some of these schools. Your child's/children's future is in peril especially if they are black. This is not to charge the school with racism, but, I had noticed that 90% of the staff was white and most were from New Zealand, Australia or Poland. The students were predominantly "black".

    Do they understand your children?

    Clearly, heads of schools should be made accountable for the poor quality of teaching in their schools and for better use of their teaching assistants. Many of us who are teaching assistants were qualified teachers and could make greater contributions. It is sad that some schools do not appreciate us and see us as the ones to fetch and carry and the ones who should be on the playground sometimes in very adverse conditions.

    Not to mention the wool that is pulled over OFSTED's eyes. How I have been shocked to see schools getting out of special measures by working feverishly in preparation for their visits only to fall back to their old ways at the end. The school mentioned above was expected to have two visits by OFSTED. One was to see what they were doing to be in the top of some league in the borough. Well, I would not like to see the ones at the bottom. The second visit was perhaps the general inspection. They will be fooled. In my opinion, the school should be charged with crime against humanity.
  14. I can see how that may have taken you 4 years to write.
  15. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ...........
  16. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    If a teacher has to teach, without support [and I love assertive TAs who know the children and arent afraid to support discipline as well as learning] and is having porblems, there are two obvious and contradictory questions to be asked:
    Is poor behaviour a result of poor classroom management and/or subject knowledge/planning?
    Has the teacher been worn down by the stress of facing a difficult class every day, five days a week for a whole year?
    Of course, it's not usually as clear-cut as this but I've seen good teachers totally demoralised by the sheer unremmitting effort of having to manage challenging behaviour NON-STOP for five days a week. Of course, I've also seen children play up teachers who are wanting in their management skills.
    Why are you playing the race card?

  17. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Please excuse typos.
    Tell me, if you were told that your child was misbehaving in class, how would you react?
  18. edenhendry

    edenhendry New commenter

    To Miss53.
    I am a TA for a Year 6 class. I found your comments quite horrific.
    If the lessons were as appalling as you say, and you thought they could be improved, why did you not communicate your ideas to your teacher? Worded in the right way, most teachers would be glad to have some new ideas and get their TA incorporating them. And if you felt that the teacher was so bad that he/she was bullying the children somehow, or depriving them of their education, why did you not talk to your line manager / head teacher?
    To quote someone who's name escapes me for now, "Silence is acceptance".

    To everyone else,
    To the original question, I, like my CT, am ready and willing to do whatever the jobs takes. I turn up to work with the knowledge that I may be doing some group work in literacy or numeracy, or photocopying, or display work, or observations on children, or marking homework, preparing the next lesson's materials etc etc. Anything is possible! I quite like that aspect of the job as it keeps me on my toes, gives my day some variety, and I know it helps the teacher to get on with her teaching, PPA or marking.
    I know there are plenty of job descriptions out there for a TA, but my basic thought is that I am there to make the teacher's life easier, however that may be. I am more a teacher's assistant, than a teaching assistant.
  19. Instead of bitching about the teacher, sit down with her after school and ask her how you can help to settle the class and create a great learning environment. You need to work with her and stand by her, not stand on the side-lines and judge her ability.
  20. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Which is exactly what should happen, so that teachers and TAs can do the jobs they're supposed to do.

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