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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Teaching assistants facing the axe?

    So I heard on the radio today that the Government is is talks about axing the Teaching Assistant role.
    Couple of sources (sorry one is Daily Mail with the usual uninformed comments).

    Army of teaching assistants faces the axe as Education department attempts to save some of the £4billion they cost each year | Mail Online
    230,000 classroom assistants face axe | The Sunday Times

    Aside from the debate about the worth of Teaching Assistants, how on earth can they actually force this though.
    One good point the Mail makes is:
    School budgets are ring-fenced from government cuts and head teachers can decide how to spend their budgets to changes could be difficult to implement.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    I have never heard anything so stupid in my life. Teaching assistants are a valuable school resource and help teachers immensely!

  3. 2 Thanks to nephilim:

    ButterflyMoon (3rd June 2013), stevenlong1985 (3rd June 2013)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    I have never heard anything so stupid in my life. Teaching assistants are a valuable school resource and help teachers immensely!
    I agree. Well used TAs do a great job.
    As it stands (and as I understand it), statemented children are entitled to one to one attention. What happens to them?

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    Hefferzzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    I agree. Well used TAs do a great job.
    As it stands (and as I understand it), statemented children are entitled to one to one attention. What happens to them?
    We stop creating labels for kids and stop making excuses?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    I agree. Well used TAs do a great job.
    As it stands (and as I understand it), statemented children are entitled to one to one attention. What happens to them?
    arnt statements being phased out as well?

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    How about labelling people correctly, my daughter is on the autistic spectrum, needs a rigid structure in her day, if she doesn't get it, she acts out, badly.

    The nursery noticed this, and worked with us and she has improved drastically, and there is already a set structure for when she moves up into the next school. If you find out early, you can get things set in motion for the child.

    For many of these children that are statemented, they are done so because they lack discipline at home, and the school is too scared to instill discipline for the child for fear he/she may lash out. It is much easier to statement a child and have them put in a special class than it is for the teacher to use proper discipline (this is based on personal experience of working in several schools)

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    We stop creating labels for kids and stop making excuses?
    Identifying pupils that need extra help to give them a good experience of/integrating them into school is a bad thing??
    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    arnt statements being phased out as well?
    Oh do you happen to a have source for that? Would very much like to look into that.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    We stop creating labels for kids and stop making excuses?
    Have you ever been to a Lincolnshire school? I'm not saying every statement is valid, and ADHD has been treated as a Get Out of Jail Free card a lot recently, but a lot of kids do have genuine learning or behavioural issues and really benefit from the support.

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    Hefferzzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Have you ever been to a Lincolnshire school? I'm not saying every statement is valid, and ADHD has been treated as a Get Out of Jail Free card a lot recently, but a lot of kids do have genuine learning or behavioural issues and really benefit from the support.
    Yes and without doubt there are some children with genuine problems that need support. However, there are far more that are statemented out of convenience.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    Yes and without doubt there are some children with genuine problems that need support. However, there are far more that are statemented out of convenience.
    Any evidence to support this, there been some kind of report done into the effectiveness of statements you can link to?

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    That's interesting, because in my LA it is really difficult to get ANY child statemented.

    I think this is because once they have a statement it is likely that the LA has to give us money for TA hours to support that child. So most children, many of whom really need the extra help, only get a limited amount of hours that the school can afford (even when the LA does provide help, it is usually for not enough hours).
    TAs are very valuable in class - they support many children, often not just their one-to-one child and some are general TAs anyway, particularly in Primary schools. With the advent of "group work" where the teacher usually supports one particular group, the TA is worth his or her weight in gold, to help support the other groups in the class. TAs do an amazing job and use a lot of their own time to find resources to support their particular child's needs. They don't get enough money or training as it is, and it is only their enthusiasm for the job that results in a good outcome.

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    Hefferzzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Any evidence to support this, there been some kind of report done into the effectiveness of statements you can link to?
    No, i'm afraid that I dont have a report for it. I just use something that is distinctly lacking in education at the moment - common sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    That's interesting, because in my LA it is really difficult to get ANY child statemented.

    I think this is because once they have a statement it is likely that the LA has to give us money for TA hours to support that child. So most children, many of whom really need the extra help, only get a limited amount of hours that the school can afford (even when the LA does provide help, it is usually for not enough hours).
    TAs are very valuable in class - they support many children, often not just their one-to-one child and some are general TAs anyway, particularly in Primary schools. With the advent of "group work" where the teacher usually supports one particular group, the TA is worth his or her weight in gold, to help support the other groups in the class. TAs do an amazing job and use a lot of their own time to find resources to support their particular child's needs. They don't get enough money or training as it is, and it is only their enthusiasm for the job that results in a good outcome.
    And therein lies the problem. A lot of people do a lot of work outside of their remit to enable departments to function correctly which means that the extra work is effectivly free. I dont think that this is taken into account anywhere other than the department they are working in. This results in the extra work being unrecognised at head/LA/Govt level and so decisions are made incorrectly.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hefferzzzz View Post
    No, i'm afraid that I dont have a report for it. I just use something that is distinctly lacking in education at the moment - common sense.
    Ah so you can't really justify your sweeping statement with any kind of facts then.

    Unfortunately its this kind of approach that informs Government policy.

    @witch I am not 100% sure but from talking to our SENCO I don't believe that the LA provides money for statements anymore, certainly not here anyway. Its (as the increasingly familiar phrase goes) "In your budget".
    Last edited by sparkeh; 3rd June 2013 at 11:45 AM.

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    Think-tank Reform found that schools could improve value for money by cutting the number of teaching assistants and increasing class sizes.
    Isn't this the same think-tank that have had links with pushing the PFI programme and had a hand in saying that the Government polices would result in a 10% reduction in the NHS workforce, that it would be a good thing, without providing any calculations or reasonings?



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