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Why are teaching assistants allowed to act as supply cover?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by rugby_gal06, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. I went to do supply in a class today to be told the TA was taking the class for the day - not HLTA, just TA. I was then put into another class that needed a supply teacher, but I was still fuming at the fact that a TA was taking the class in the teacher's absence. This TA does the PPA cover for the class as well. I know it boils down to cost, but something isn't right! Sadly it's something I am seeing more and more. No wonder there is no supply work!
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Schools justify this practice on grounds of 'continuity' for the children, they know the abilities of the children etc.

  3. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    That is why I believe that supply teachers should be more militant and report these schools to the unions, to the dept of Education and ask them is it right that they the unqualified person is able to teach, yet qualified teachers, especially NQTs have restrictions on the time they can work before they are required to have completed an induction, it is right when the government is demanding high qualifications and standards for teachers to teach. We must expose these contradictions through our MP's, through complaining to the unions and through complaining to the Government. We need to be more vocal and more militant in our actions.
  4. I completely agree with you historygrump! I have voiced a number of these issues to my MP who passed them on to Nick Gibb at the Dep of Ed, to get ridiculous responses that avoided the questions being asked! Sadly if I reported every school that I know that uses TAs to cover, it would definitely be a number in double figures - what can be done about it though if it can't be monitored? It bugs me also that the TAs look down their noses at us like we are the ones in the wrong for being bought into TEACH, when they could do it themselves. I know there are aware of ability, but if it is just for a day based on teachers planning and grouping, then I really don't understand the problem!
  5. The contract teaching unions were happy, it gives their teachers PPA time.
    The headteachers and politicians are very happy as it saves money.
    Some of the TA's are probably not happy, TA pay hardly compensates for managing whole classes for extended periods.
    Newly qualified teachers who have not completed induction are probably not happy either.
    The children and parents must be happy as they are not complaining.
    The supply teachers will probably have to get out of the biz
    Complaining - Not really possible for a supply teacher, you can't write to the media as they rightly will want your name to give authenticity. Schools love to play the confidentiality card in our freedom loving democracy. You will be blacklisted as a troublemaker!
  6. "Schools love to play the confidentiality card" That is so true.
    I surveyed a number of primary schools on the staffing for PPA lessons. I was only asking for numbers but one Sunderland school refused to give the information even though it was a FOI request on the grounds that it would breach the Data Protection Act.

  7. I should add that I could go onto the school website and find out the names of all the staff who could be doing that PPA work and I told the school this. But still they refused to provide the information - did they think that they were trying to hide something and if so, what?
  8. Wuzzy

    Wuzzy New commenter

    TAs taking classes instead of qualified teachers is not right, but schools are doing this because they don't have enough money to afford us!
    In my area, permanent staff are being made redundant because the budgets are so tight - is it any wonder that HTs are going for their TAs at a fraction of the cost to save every pound they can.
    I dread to think what the situation is going to be like come September - as for getting a job if you are more than M2... it all boils down to money.
    As an experienced teacher, I despair of ever getting another post, having been turned down on grounds that I am too expensive on more than one occasion in the past year (at least it was nice to be told the truth!)
  9. Why are teaching assistants allowed to act as supply cover?
    I would prefer that to read why are teaching assistants suddenly finding themselves being expected to act as supply cover?
  10. Yes and no. The teaching assistants that I've seen lately acting has cover have been more than happy to do so!
  11. Better a TA who embraces the situation and delivers engaging and exciting lessons than one who begrudged and hates every minute of it. But please don't talk about them as though they are vultures circling overhead ready to swoop in. Covering lessons is part of a TAs role. Fact.
  12. Yes, better they embrace it, but I stand by my original point. Out of interest are you a teaching assistant?
  13. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    According to the TDA a HLTA and TA should be used to support small groups of children and assist the class teacher. The TDA also states that HLTA's and TA's should <u>not</u> be used to take whole classes. The Dept of Education states that support staff should not be used to replace teachers and the ATL also state that support should not be used to teach. In fact any HT who uses the TA in this role is in my opinion acting unprofessionally and not in the interest of the children.
    Don't get me wrong, I support the TA's, who operate in the roles they are trained for, supporting groups of children and assisting the class teacher and a good TA is priceless to any teacher.
  14. Well said historygrump!!
  15. After all this, we have to remember not to villify TA's and other supprt staff, because they have to do what they are told just like us.
    It looks like children that are going to be taught the next few years are going to lack professionalism, respect for others and grades to take them to FE, due to lack of qualified teachers at the right places. The other thing I want to mention is that children nowadays are 'rushed' into last minute revision in year 11 and some fail, some pass. but really their lives are being affected in a big way. This is also reflected in seeing classes that have had so many supply staff, that they don't give a fu/ck either.
  16. I have over 30 years teaching experience (and military instuctor experience before that) but have now been thrown on the scrap heap because of incompetent civil servants, politicians and trade union leaders who cannot write clear regulations and gidelines.
    For most of that time I never had the assistance of TAs but I fully support TAs of whatever status provided they fulfill their primary role of assisting and supporting teachers mainly by working with individual pupils or small groups or pupils. I will never support their role of taking whole classes for extended periods such as PPA time which is not cover which I regard as replacing teachers which the Department for Education says should never happen. I will not blame the TAs for this but I do blame the HTs who are ignoring regulations and misinterpreting guidelines.
    When support staff and unqualified teachers take over the role of teaching during a class teacher's PPA release time the pupils are being denied their right to the services of a qualified teacher for much of their time. From a recent survey of a sample of primary schools I have found that only about 40% of pupils have a qualified teacher to teach them for all of their time in school. That only takes into account PPA time but if teacher absence was taken into account that figure would probably be a little lower.
    In terms of subject time without a teacher those pupils could be losing out on a minimum of 20% of subject teaching time. This surely goes against the guidelines issued to schools.
    Much is made of the budgetary restraints that schools have to tolerate. When I first talked to my MP (now ex-MP due to boundary changes) he blamed the problems faced by supply teachers on these budgetary problems, the recession and the NUT. What is conveniently forgotten by many is the fact that the use of support staff was being planned a decade ago. During that time the Department for Education has stated many times that support staff and teachers are not inter-changeable, that support staff are not substitutes for teachers or that support staff should not replace teachers. Yet that is happening on an increasing rate and will probably continue for for longer.
    My last point is that I was informed by an education minister via my MP that the role of TAs was to be considered in the Education White Paper (The Importance of Teaching) Did this happen? Just another example, in my opinion, of teachers, support staff and the public being deceived by the true reality of events in schools.
  17. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    I fully endorse Bronco's sentiments and to some extent hary1978, however i must take issue with Harry on one point. That is the vast majority of supply teachers and TA's do care about education and ensuring that professional standards are maintained. However like any profession and roles there are always going to be a very tiny minority of supply staff and also teachers, TA's and HT's in permanent posts, who don't seem to care about the students educational future and how it can impact on their life chances.
    The idea put about by some very deluded CS's that they know the kids and can teach across the curriculum unlike qualified teachers, who some claim are less able then them, thhey obviously have never worked in supply, when you could be required to teach 5 or 6 different subjects in a day. Part of this myth being supported by HT's who have said for years the support staff know the kids and the kids know them. But why then do schools use supply CS?
    The fact is we should return to the system, which worked for years and which is still in use in Scotland, and that is only qualified teachers should be allowed to teach, cover and supervise classes. To achieve this schools should use permanent cover teachers. I am sure that a deal could be agreed between the unions and the government, that schools could recruit cover teachers on around &pound;18,000 a year with a rule that if they are assigned and teach more then 5 permanent lessons per week, excluding cover or thy are asked cover a term absence or more then they are paid at their normal payscale. This would ensure that schools have qualified teachers available in schools and that every class would have a qualified teacher in front of it, instead of any Michael, Ed or Harriet of the straight of the streets pretending to be teachers, and ensure that they are misused to bring to save money. Everyone is a winner from the unemployed teacher to the children, even the HT in that standards will rise accordingly. I would hate to point out that in the 10 years or so years, since support staff and CS have been used to teach and cover lessons the educational standards have fallen within the OCED assessment of English education.
  18. Am also following another thread along the same lines as this one and would like to ask the same question here as I have on there. Hopefully I'll get a reply on this one :S My question is this; Which law is being broken by allowing TAs and CSs to teach without a teacher being present?'
  19. The entire system of teacher employment is now broken and corrupted through the use of UNQUALIFIED STAFF AS "teachers"! And they are still doing it...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    legally the rule or regulation, which as not been amended by anyone to my knowledge is basically that support staff can only be used to cover a maximum of 3 days absence of a teacher, if a teacher is absent beyond that point then they must recruit a a qualified teacher. However the Dept of Education says that this the rule, but the HT can use staff as they see fit, (and in an email to me, they also said) 'but they believe that no HT would break the rules'. So they have regulations, which teachers must follow or risk being disbarred from teaching, but then we have regulations that HT do not have to obey, it is absurd.
    It is the same with support staff teaching and this includes instructors. The regulation is that a school can only use an instructor (unqualified/support staff), if there is no suitably qualified teacher available and that they can only use an instructor until they recruit a suitably qualified teacher.Which they must actively seek to do, I also believe the regulation also includes the requirement that they have the approval of the local LA to use an unqualified person. But how many unqualified staff are being used, instead of teachers? for example I remember the teacher who lost out at an interview, despite teaching a perfect lesson, with experiences and good references to a unqualified person, because the unqualified person seem keen. So again the regulations are meaningless to the HT, because the Dept of Education will not enforce them.
    Yet this is the people we are expected to trust to run our education system.

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