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Get together with hundreds of teaching assistants, learning support assistants and HLTAs in the TES Teaching Assistant Group. Share your experiences in teaching support, get advice on TA pay and conditions from your peers and find a sympathetic ear.

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HLTA pay

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    Although I love my job I am very unhappy with the pay we receive. Sad Our pay is set by our local authority and we are really low paid. What makes it worse is now that the co- gov have abolished the SSSNB I feel we have no chance in ever being paid fairly for what we do. Some of us went through job evaluation and single status and lost alot of money. When i was given the role of HLTA i expected to be recognised financially for all the hard work we do but i was so wrong!

    All we ask for is to have a national pay scale where no matter where we live if we do the same job, same hours etc we should be paid the same.

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    I agree HLTA pay does not reflect the level of responsibility that the job entails. My husband who has a less skilled and less responsible job earns 50% more than I do as a HLTA. I think that HLTA pay does a disservice not just to HLTAs but to teachers and pupils too.Because HLTA wages are so much cheaper than that of a qualified teacher it is tempting for Headteachers struggling with tight budgets to overuse HLTAs for whole clas teaching either during PPA or for absence cover.

    I know that most HLTAs are hard working and dedicated and do their absolute best for the pupils in their care but they are neither trained or paid adequately for that level of work. Having  done my HLTA training I was shocked by how basic it was. A weeks training and I am now seen fit to teach whole classes! I ticked off a series of standards and talked about what I did to an assessor but there was no tutoring of any sort on how to manage whole classes, how to assess pupils work or how to plan lessons. The assumption is that HLTAs are 'on the job' training. On my course I met an Early Years TA who had only been working as a TA for 2 years and whose lack of knowledge of the curriculum shocked me. When I asked her what her learning objective was for one of the activities that she planned she was clueless and her knowledge of the EYFS curriculum was scant. She was appointed at her school as a HLTA and now does PPA cover.

    Now I know that I have for a long time been working at a higher level than other TAs in my school (all equally dedicated, but at a different stage in their lives,family committments etc) but if HLTAs are regularly teaching whole classes there should be an expectation of thorough ongoing training/observations to ensure that their knowledge of the curriculum and assessment is up to scratch. Pay should also reflect this level of training and responsibility.

    Ah but hold on, that would all require funding and it's much cheaper to pretend that its okay to overuse dedicated. but at the end of the day, unqualified HLTAs instead of a qualified teacher!

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    LaureRichis

    I know that most HLTAs are hard working and dedicated and do their absolute best for the pupils in their care but they are neither trained or paid adequately for that level of work. Having  done my HLTA training I was shocked by how basic it was. A weeks training and I am now seen fit to teach whole classes! I ticked off a series of standards and talked about what I did to an assessor but there was no tutoring of any sort on how to manage whole classes, how to assess pupils work or how to plan lessons. The assumption is that HLTAs are 'on the job' training. On my course I met an Early Years TA who had only been working as a TA for 2 years and whose lack of knowledge of the curriculum shocked me. When I asked her what her learning objective was for one of the activities that she planned she was clueless and her knowledge of the EYFS curriculum was scant. She was appointed at her school as a HLTA and now does PPA cover.

    The simple fact is HLTA training basically amounts to showing 'experienced' staff how to present the evidence against the standards. This is not unjust because HLTA is a 'status' (not a qualification) basically saying that a TA has been working consistently to a certain standard over a period of at least three years. Those experienced TAs would have no problem is demonstrating this skill and would be able to expand on any explanation or give clear examples when asked from the top of their head based on their continuous experience. The statement that says a TA can occasionally cover for a whole class is only ONE statement out of many but it is the one that many schools both head teachers and TAs focus on in believing it is some sort of higher qualification which places the HLTA more experienced than others.

    Whilst I accept it is a level 4 status it is not the only one recognised in school. For instance, in my school and others around me the OU level 4 qualification 'Supporting in Primary School' is also recognised, but equally does not necessarily carry with it extra pay. ( Having said that, having just gone through job evaluation my OU training has been beneficial and I have been awarded a grade 5 on the pay scale but that is because of other duties of supervision I hold in school too.)  The thing is none of us should be regularly working as a TA where the role is basically taking whole classes so the job in 'theory' does not actually exist so the pay scale does not reflect this. In the early days of HLTA status when it was applied to the original purpose of recognising a certain standard of supporting children those TAs that applied for it were awarded the HLTA pay consistently and many did not( and still do not) have to cover a class in order to gain the status. As far as the planning statements are concerned this relates to planning for small groups or individual SEN children which is a skill many experienced TAs have (with or without HLTA status). Over the years I have seen on some TA forums and here where a new TA wants to apply for HLTA status or even those that have no experience in the class at all.Huh?

    Thankfully I am not forced to cover whole classes and couldn't think of anything worse.( for me that is) I have been asked, but challenged it as I do not see it as my role despite having 18 years TA experience. The more TAs accept the role of covering whole classes the more they will be exploited and there is very little that can be done.

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