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Why do TA's get paid so little?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by puella, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. I think we do a worthwhile job; we're skilled, well qualified, committed to the job, children make progress with our support, etc etc. yet there is little professional development for TA's.
    Where can the abitious TA go without changing his/her role? Many TA's I work with love the job they do but often become dispondent when they can't make professional and financial progress due to lack of opportunity within the role.
    Has anyone's school been inspirational in the deployment of TA's?

  2. Yes. In my school TAs have taken on the following roles:
    ICT engineer
    Responsible for 'Forest School' project
    First aiders (majority of TAs)
    Sports' co-ordinators assistant
    RE co-ordinators assistant
    Senior TA - some management skills
    Speak to the headteacher and tell them of some of your interests and I'm sure a role will appear!

  3. Are the TAs paid appropriately for taking on these further responsibilites? I have found in the past that schools I've worked in were only too happy for myself or others to do all sorts of extra duties outside of our job descriptions or out of hours, just so long as we didn't expect to see any financial recognition. This, in my opinion, sucks. If they are paid better please let me know where in the country you are, so I can move!

    I have also found that schools' hands can be tied by the LA when it comes to pay grades and levels for TAs. This means that promotions and career progression can be very difficult to come across - even Level 3 jobs have become a rarity in my area.

    As an experienced SEN TA, it also bugs me that the only difference between what I earn and what a general classroom assistant earns is SEN allowance, which is less than £20 per week.

    Fortunately, I graduate from the OU at the end of the year, so many more career options will soon be open to me. I considered teaching for a long time, but I think I've spent too long in schools and become too jaded for that now. Just give me a quiet little lab somewhere where nobody tries to bite me, that'll do.
  4. Here, here Lilybottle,
    I've taken on many extra responsibilities including ICT clubs, school magazine, first aid etc. but for no extra pay, just a pat on the back, "what a capable TA you are!"
    I am an OU graduate and our head admits I have "a high level of knowledge and ability". GREAT but what about pay? I enjoy being a TA and don't want to teach. But why can't TA's move up the ladder WITHIN the TA role and get paid accordingly. I'm so frustrated - I may have to leave a job I'm good at and enjoy very much just to get a good rate of pay.

  5. It is really good to take on extra resposibilities and I have done so myself. It is not the amount you take on but at what level you take them on. You need to look at the job description of the level you are working at and the level above. If you are working at the next level then you need to ask for a reappraisal of you job.
  6. I agree Kanddd, I know what level I work at and it isn't the level 2 I'm paid! I know I need to get my job reappraised but have to gather job descriptions for levels 3 and 4 etc before I go and see the head. Co-incidentally, I've been asked my the head to gain HLTA status but when I asked if there was a full time HLTA position available the answer was NO "I'll pay you level 2 for some of the role and level 4 for the rest"! I've never known any other industry where staff are paid in such a way!
    I'll keep you posted!

  7. I know what you mean. I have been asked to become one as well. We only have one HLTA and she is paid the higher level for the time she covers PPA and her normal level for the rest. I think that the majority of schools do that now. Ask the bursar for the job descriptions. Go through them slowly, I had to argue my case when I went to a higher level and he asked for someone from HR to talk them through with him, then I had to get the rise allowed by the governors. It took time but I got my pay rise back dated. Good luck

  8. Hi Puella,
    I started at school seven years ago. After remodelling, we were treated fairly. I was paid at TA2 for a year and was given a year to develop my role to a TA3. I was also offered the post of HLTA in the afternoons planning and teaching ICT lessons to release teachers for some of their PPA allocation. This was a split contract and I had to accept it for a while. After 18 months of struggling with my work/life balance (I was doing an FdA and then a BA too) I wrote a letter and was offered TA4 all day. Following completion of my BA last year, I was offered the post of TA Line Manager (TA4 again). For this, I am no longer based in a classroom although I do cover supervision with some of our TA3s as and when required. My role includes being a member of the Senior Leadership Team and I do feel valued by the leaders, teachers and other support staff in our school. Now I am at the top of the TA scale of pay though, as you say, where do I go next. As she knows I have aspirations as a consultant in the future to supplement my income, my head has encouraged me to take an NVQ Assessors Award this year so that I can train and assess our TAs in-house. I would hate to leave our school and in an ideal world I hope that I can get some assessor/consultancy/tutor work which will supplement the income but be flexible enough that I can still enjoy my HLTA role in school. Another worry is that although I am treated as an equal in our school, will there be a stigma attached elsewhere because I do not have QTS (even though this was a conscious decision I made when choosing to do my BA in Teaching, Learning and Mentoring instead?
  9. Sorry got a bit of that wrong. Following my letter, I jumped the band of TA4 to the top for my HLTA role but stayed at TA3 for my classroom role. Then I became TA4 all day after starting as the TA Line Manager in addition to HLTA.
  10. Thanks for your reply Sandracoventry. You have made some very interesting points. Your school seems to have used your skills effectively I only wish my school would! I too have responsibility for training other TA's but, again, am not paid for this. I have looked at taking the NVQ assessors course and am interested in pursuing this route and working with the local college or LEA in a trainer role but I enjoy my job and don't want to move schools. Its just so frustrating that opportunities for TA's to climb the ladder are few and far between. I know my Head appreciates my skills and knowledge but I don't think he knows how to expand my role.
    I'm gathering as much information as possible before making an appointment to discuss these issues with the Head. I'll keep you posted
  11. Hi Dennell, a difficult one this; we have some unqualified TA's at my school but they are very experienced and have learnt on the job. However, I do agree that if you have taken time, trouble and made a financial commitment to get qualified, lets face it for the better of the school and children, then yes we should be recognised for this and paid accordingly. Unfortunately, until a clear structure and career progression is put in place in all schools then we will continue to have an army of frustrated TA's! I know teachers have a lot more responsibility/work load but if they can have career progression and take on extra responsibility and get paid accordingly then, for the sake on inclusivity, we (as part of the team) should have opportunities too![​IMG]

  12. YOY


    You do also have to bear in mind, I guess, that the part-time term-time contract is also one reason that a lot of women, in particular, want TA jobs which is why there are so many candidates and so much competition!
  13. This thread is so similar to my experiences as a TA (I am now workin in a childrens centre). I have trained whilst working as a TA/SEN support towards a degree in Eraly Childhood. Once I gained this I approached my school for added responsibility and pay rise (I alreday did PPA cover three times a week, was first aid person, ran SEAL groups twice a week and S&L groups once a week as well as supporting two other TA's through their NVQ's) their response was that they payed people for the job they did not the qualifications/experience they had. my job, they said, was TA2 and therefore that is what I would get paid for. THE CHEEK!!! so I left and am much better off, however, it is a shame as it was a job I loved but I couldnt justify working for TA2 salary having worked for four years to gain a degree (I also paid for it!!!)

    Schools need to value TAs and support them through their qualifications by providing relevant oppunities once they have been achieved.
    Oh well, we can dream!!
  14. Thanks for the positive post swimmer. I know I need to move on - perhaps a children's centre would be the next step for me. I need a job where my experience and qualifications are used to the full and rewarded accordingly. Just think what would happen if the growing number of unsettled, well qualified TA's leave schools too! LA's would have to pay to recruit/train to maintain the high level of effectivness these TA's bring to the job.
  15. Hi
    lilybottle I am currently having a bad time trying to get the SEN alloance. I work in a secondary school for 20hours per week. I have worked with different statemented pupils for 11 out of 20 hours this year, 14 out of 20 last year. However the Head has said he bases his decision on 25 hours per week even though Im contracted to do 20 the past 2 years and now wont pay me. He has only given the allowance to three out of 13 TA's. The problem I have is that I dont have the critiria on TA's being able to get this allowance. A school need by awarded the allowance to ALL there TA's for 1 year when they asked why they hadnt got it. With you saying you get it I thought u may have more info on it as Im at a lose and time is running out as my school closes in weeks. Any help or advice be be great.
  16. I don't think that such a criteria exists. It very much depends on your LA and HT. HAve you tried contacting your union about the local agreement on payment of SEN Allowance? (You are in a union, I hope)
    We get the allowance on the criteria of working wholly or mainly with children with SEN (and that doesn't just include statemented children, but any children on the school's SEN register). I don't see that working part time should affect this.
  17. Hi thanks for the reply. I am a memebr of ATL and the rep for my area is in talks with human resources today about this. I recieved a email from another TA in a local school which had quoted the LA pay and conditions of employment for Teaching Assistants on it and it said TA's can be awarded the allowance is they work for 51% of their time working with a pupils with a statement of SEN'
    Its funny how for TA's it dependes on the Local authority and schools but If we were teachers there would be a national agreement and they wouldn't argue over such issues. The SENCo even tried to argue over the stratemented pupils saying some dont 'carry hours' what a joke hey. I just hope that the union and HR back me up. Thanks for your reply but I feel that until the goverment make a national framework for pay and conditions for ALL Teaching assistants we'll always suffer pay wise which seems so silly when now nationally there are so many of us doing such a valuble job!!!
  18. Just a thought... How about disgruntled TAs posting their views in the Headmasters forum and see what response they get, that should be interesting!
    I'm an OU Honours graduate getting paid not much above the national minimum wage.

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