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Getting rid of TA's


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Hi all,

Just read this (an article about our beloved Mr Gove's latest potential money saving trick - getting rid of teaching assistants!) and wondered if anyone had any thoughts about how different their classroom practices might be if this were to happen?

 

I particularly like (dislike really of course but it did put an exasperated smile on my face for a few seconds!) this bit...

 

"Think-tank Reform found that schools could improve value for money by cutting the number of teaching assistants and increasing class sizes."

 

Would love to hear your thoughts on this and will include them in the letter I plan to write to various people including Mr Gove himself.

S.

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Can you still hear my hysterical laughter! Is this his 1950's look back with rose tinted glasses again when all children sat in straight rows and knew what was good for them? Maybe my old teachers could be re-instated to teach and bring along Mr Black-Slipper, Mr Cane and Mr Blackboard-Cleaner to help keep order together with Miss Lets pull up up by your ear lobes.

 

what century does this man live I ?

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nonsense [ˈnɒnsəns]

n

1. something that has or makes no sense; unintelligible language; drivel

2. conduct or action that is absurd

3. foolish or evasive behaviour or manners she'll stand no nonsense

4. See no-nonsense

5. things of little or no value or importance; trash

 

exasperated - greatly annoyed; out of patience; "had an exasperated look on his face"; "felt exasperated beyond endurance"

 

Sums it up nicely :)

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I'm quite intrigued by the statement that TAs earn about £17,000 a year and most have few qualifications.

 

Who wants to go first...?

interestingly this does seem to be the case if you search online Happy Maz!

What i would like to know is how children with additional needs and additional maguages are going to do if they choose to go down this line....what are they going to do with them...invest in lots of SEN schools that cost a fortune in order to save money!!!!!!???????

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I'm quite intrigued by the statement that TAs earn about £17,000 a year and most have few qualifications.

 

Who wants to go first...?

Good grief what can one say about such appalling ignorance.!?!

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I just remembered a tweet I favourited earlier. I follow @FullFact which is one of those fact checking sites that looks into the various claims of Governments, newspapers and so on.

 

Here is a link with a bit of background. The report basically says that the study the Mail is banging on about does show that the more support children get, the less progress they make in English, Maths and Science. This is after accounting for the reasons why these children needed extra support in the first place: social class, lower achievement, and learning and behaviour difficulties.

 

However rather than blaming the TAs, the study's leader says that policy makers need to think about the way TAs are used, to maximise their huge potential to support children and teachers. He says that less than a quarter of teachers interviewed had received any training in how to manage TAs. In addition, a quarter of the teachers surveyed (and 1 in 20 teachers in secondary schools) had allocated planning and feedback time with their TAs.

 

One aspect of the study that hasn't been so well reported is that teaching assistants boost teachers' productivity, reduce their stress levels and improve classroom progress.

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interestingly this does seem to be the case if you search online Happy Maz!

Perhaps this £17,000 is based on a central London salary? I'm not anywhere near London so I don't really know how much the salaries vary but I don't think a single TA in our school is on that much and some of ours are extremely well qualified.

 

Also totally agree with the question of TA's supporting EAL and SEN children - surely they will still need (and deserve!) the same level of support from somewhere. Here's hoping this will be another U-turn policy - maybe someone should point out the fact that the unemployment figures would go through the roof, that might make them think again!

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I just remembered a tweet I favourited earlier. I follow @FullFact which is one of those fact checking sites that looks into the various claims of Governments, newspapers and so on.

 

Here is a link with a bit of background. The report basically says that the study the Mail is banging on about does show that the more support children get, the less progress they make in English, Maths and Science. This is after accounting for the reasons why these children needed extra support in the first place: social class, lower achievement, and learning and behaviour difficulties.

 

However rather than blaming the TAs, the study's leader says that policy makers need to think about the way TAs are used, to maximise their huge potential to support children and teachers. He says that less than a quarter of teachers interviewed had received any training in how to manage TAs. In addition, a quarter of the teachers surveyed (and 1 in 20 teachers in secondary schools) had allocated planning and feedback time with their TAs.

 

One aspect of the study that hasn't been so well reported is that teaching assistants boost teachers' productivity, reduce their stress levels and improve classroom progress.

 

Thank you - I knew it rang bells with me. I remember my HT talking about the report when it came out and highlighting that part about needing to look at how TAs were used not whether they were. I have a friend who if I have ever commented on the lack of TA time always says "but there weren't TAs when we were at school and everything was fine" - I think the expectations of what will be achieved and how have changed greatly.

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The thing that strikes me most is that one of the governments biggest drives is trying to get mums back to work, yet at every turn they are trying to remove the jobs that many of the back to work mums do...firstly with trying to cut early years staff and now TA's ...see post 5 for my understanding of this ;-p

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I wonder if Mr Gove has used the new research for his latest spout????

 

I think in schools part of the ofsted inspection now is looking at whether TAs do in fact seem worth their money.

 

(I do not know any classroom TAs on £17000, but a full time wage for an NNEB, level 3 TA in a local authority nursery or a HLTA, level 4 on the county council pay scale might earn along these lines, BUT most are not full time and our TAs in classes are usually level ones on the low end of the pay scale)

So once again they take a piece of info and mess with it to suit their own agendas!!

 

Now if I could just remember what that research was called. It was from a Trust of some sort. . . . . . .

 

The Sutton Trust Report 2013 (Spring) states that TAs are not cost effective!!!

 

I only know this because our Head had comments about TAs in KS1 and 2 in our last report and he talked about this report as being what has highlighted a problem to the inspectors!!!

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The value for money of TAs has been long discussed - I recall a conference speaker in my LA talking about the "velcro adults" (stuck to a child's side) who made no measurable difference to narrowing the achievement gap for those children, in other words children were x sub levels below their peers and even though they had 1-1 support they remained x sub-levels below their peers. The argument being that to demonstrate value for (public) money there should be a measurable impact on children's progress because they are getting that targeted support.

 

cx

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I think in schools part of the ofsted inspection now is looking at whether TAs do in fact seem worth their money.

We had Ofsted this year and in the lead up to it a lot of work was done with TAs to make them understand that they too were accountable and needed to be proactive in raising achievement.

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The advertised pay will of course be pro-rate'd...so will not end up as 17k.....i am as you say near London so the salaries round here are a bit inflated.

 

 

The argument being that to demonstrate value for (public) money there should be a measurable impact on children's progress because they are getting that targeted support.

 

cx

But is this not happening now? after all i have to demonstrate that my staff have an impact on the children in our care dont i ? Surely if you are employing assistants ...especially those who are assisting children with sen then you would want be proving that johnny has moves from a to d over a period of time.

If TA's are getting paid the same as my assistants at pre-school i would expect them to have the same abilities and responsibilities that they have and at least some training.

Im not having a go at TA's ....just playing devils advocate ;)

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I agree finleysmaid. Some TAs I've known have had little training and what they have had has been classroom assistant training which usually focused on the classroom and missed out child development. I know 2 TAs who have trained more recently and seem to have more knowledge but years ago our local primary tended to take on moms who moved from being lunch time supervisors, the school rarely advertised externally.

I'm sure there are good and bad but it does seem to be the schools lack of understanding on how the TAs can be used. I don't know any on £17000 either!

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The advertised pay will of course be pro-rate'd...so will not end up as 17k.....i am as you say near London so the salaries round here are a bit inflated.

 

 

But is this not happening now? after all i have to demonstrate that my staff have an impact on the children in our care dont i ? Surely if you are employing assistants ...especially those who are assisting children with sen then you would want be proving that johnny has moves from a to d over a period of time.

If TA's are getting paid the same as my assistants at pre-school i would expect them to have the same abilities and responsibilities that they have and at least some training.

Im not having a go at TA's ....just playing devils advocate ;)

 

The overall impact does depend I think on the role of the TA/additional adults and how they are deployed and how the effectiveness of that deployment is monitored and evaluated in terms of outcomes (ie progress and attainment). Where children have identified needs then the TA can be part of the support package but we all know that this is becoming a rarity in any case. Getting a statement of SEND and therefore funding for 1-1 support in a mainstream provider is less and less likely.

 

I think the argument is possibly based on how schools are narrowing the gap between the larger groups of children with lower attainment and the expected levels, rather than just making progress per se. Progress can be made but if the gap remains the same the children are still disadvantaged regardless of the additional adults in the rooms. This wouldn't be seen as good or better progress and so the value of the TA support is called into question in Ofsteds.

 

cx

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Guest LornaW

My experience is that the value a TA adds is dependent on the partnership with the class teacher!

 

TAs and small groups can work but also can be detrimental as lots of transitions are not helpful and withdrawal groups can carry a stigma.

 

TAs need entitlement to as much training as teachers and they should also be involved in performance management and reflecting on their practice and how they can improve.

 

I have just finished working with 26 TAs from 6 schools over a long period and the biggest message for me was they need to feel valued and in a partnership. They were all dedicated, keen to learn and loved working with the children so schools need to invest wisely in them.

 

I agree wholeheartedly with Catma we need to evaluate on the impact on children's learning overall!

 

I could never have managed without my TAs in EYFS / KS1 but do feel that better use can be made of inclusion in KS2. Catma mentioned 'Velcro adults' and I worry about the 'starlings on the lawn syndrome' where children are waiting for the adult to tell them what to do and when - learned helplessness!

 

As for salary they have never earned enough so if we can improve their CPD and job satisfaction it may be some consolation for them

 

LornaW

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just to deal with the pay issue for a second... the average rate for a 'low grade' TA appears to be £8.15 per hour (this based on figures from around the country) This would equate to around £9,291 for a year if you were working schools hours ...if you do this as a yearly salary it comes to £17,000.....I have deliberately done this on rates from well outside London.

£8.15 is a much higher rate than most pre-school assistants are being paid...do you not feel that these jobs have similar roles and should have relatively equivalent pay?

 

In terms of sen ....dont get me started!! Schools all get an sen budget...how they spend it is up to them. As pre-schools we rarely get anything and yet are expected to support children and families to the same degree as schools.

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My TA earns £11 000 after tax for full time work. It is not enough and certainly doesn't compensate for the hours that she puts in the job over and above her directed hours. Who in education just works their hours thesedays! Directed hours are 8.30-3.30 but she rarely leaves the building before 5.30 and works part of her lunch which isnt paid and takes home things to do like cutting out/ sticking in. These things are done of her own accord, I never expect it of her but don't know what I'd do if she didn't do these things. I simply could not manage without my TA. Our main feeder Playgroup finishes at 3 and the building is closed up by 3.30 several of the staff have children at our school and they are able to leave to pick up their children by 3.15.

 

We do as all schools do have an sen budget it from my understanding virtually the whole budget is taken up with the costs of funding support teachers for children's statements, the authority is canny they rarely give over 10 hours which means that the school has to cover the cost entirely. In our school we have 8 children with statements throughout the school and the whole budget goes on staffing that. I have 6 children out of 30 on the SEN register who don't qualify for a statement but have IEPs and pretty challenging needs. there is no one extra to support them, it is down to my TA and me.We have intervention groups going at all times of the day towards IEPs including during our lunch hour/ assembly and sadly during child initiated times.

 

Added to that it often happens that a statemented child's TA is away and then TAs are borrowed from elsewhere (sometimes from me!) to cover because the nature of their difficulty is that they need an adult (epilepsy, downs syndrome, chronic arthritis) leaving me with a ratio of 1:30 4 and 5 year olds.

 

Don't assume the grass is greener in schools-it really isn't! Our TAs deserve every penny and more.

Deb

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Please dont get me wrong i am not saying life is eaiser either way....but the original post was about right in terms of money. The way TA's are used is up to the school, as is who they employ. I have experienced fantastic TA's and some who i have rejected for a job in pre-school only to be given a job as a TA in a local school

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It's becoming more prevalent for support staff to have qualifications, but we have to remember it's not a requirement to have anyone in reception above a qualified teacher, so having anyone, qualified or not, is already a bonus!

Cx

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We have TAs who are qualified, from EY qualifications, degrees and EYPS to some qualified to teach adults but quite a few who were as someone said earlier, recruited from being midday supervisors with not even basic maths and English. Any new TAs have to be level 2 qualified at least now in our school. We are all on the same pay bracket, unless we do things that PPA cover as HLTAs, so other that that there is no benefit to being qualified. In nursery we have to have a TA with a L3 EY ( I also have EYPS) but again that is paid at the same rate as the 'general' and SEN TAs.

One thing I have noticed is that the qualified TAs are always more keen to do further training than the unqualified one! Perhaps training in EY and TA makes you lust to learn more!

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There's a school that locally to me where all the TAs in the school are qualified teachers! Each time they have advertised TA positions they have have had applications from newly qualified teachers who havn't been able to secure teaching posts. They are paid on a TA rate but are often left to cover classes with no extra pay!

 

All TAs at my school are qualified and without exception fantastic! My TA has an early years degree. What concerns me are the online TA courses, my friend is currently doing one of these and spends minimal time in a school, doesn't go into college at all or interact with other students she just works her way through modules and has the odd meeting or phone conversation with her tutor.

 

Deb

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