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General Chat Thread, An interesting opinion (teaching assitant pay) in General; I was just reading BBC NEWS | Wales | Fears over teaching assistant pay and it occured to me that ...
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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    An interesting opinion (teaching assitant pay)

    I was just reading BBC NEWS | Wales | Fears over teaching assistant pay and it occured to me that it would make perfect sense to pay a term-time only worker, a term-time only wage.

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    speckytecky (3rd November 2008)

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    might see if i can moonlight as a teaching assistant over the summer, sounds reasonable pay.

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    broc's Avatar
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    This particular issue over term-time salary has been a thorn in the side for many staff, schools, and the LAs for years.

    It is not uncommon in schools to find some term-time staff are on full time contracts, others on term-time only, and others on pro-rata contracts which are paid as a proportion of the full time salary based upon number of weeks worked.
    Some classroom assistants are employed on admin scales, others are on nursery nurse scales, it's a nightmare. There are many term-time support staff who regard their situation to be the same as teachers but unfortunately they are not and these are the ones who will suffer most.

    What is driving this is the Single Status reviews that LAs are obliged to carry out (legislated by HM Govt & agreed in 1997, to be completed by 2007). These were intended to eliminate discrimination between employees pay rates & were supposed to resolve these anomolies. I think when the trade unions entered into the single status agreement in 1997 they were under the impression they had a gentlemans agreement with HM Govt & the employers that nobody would suffer hardship. Some might say that was naive......

    In some LAs, staff who have been affected have been offered the chance to work full time to maintain their salary at the level they were being paid to work part-time; in others they are being offered an hourly rate rise but are being switched over to pro-rata; there are others who are being offered nothng more than a pay cut.

    I can see it will be hard for some people, however is it fair that a technician in a school has their pay pro-rated but a classroom assistant does not when they both work identical hours and have similar minimum 'qualifications' for their respective roles?

    The law courts did not think so in the early-mid 1990s, and when the litigation levels against the employers began to soar the Govt hastily brought in the single status agreement legislation....

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post

    What is driving this is the Single Status reviews that LAs are obliged to carry out (legislated by HM Govt & agreed in 1997, to be completed by 2007). These were intended to eliminate discrimination between employees pay rates & were supposed to resolve these anomolies. I think when the trade unions entered into the single status agreement in 1997 they were under the impression they had a gentlemans agreement with HM Govt & the employers that nobody would suffer hardship. Some might say that was naive......

    ....
    But in schools what difference are the LA's single status actually making......
    as it was my understanding board of governors aren't obliged to accept single status decisions. They can keep support staff at their current pay scales and T&C's.....or have i got that totally wrong ?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    But in schools what difference are the LA's single status actually making......
    as it was my understanding board of governors aren't obliged to accept single status decisions. They can keep support staff at their current pay scales and T&C's.....or have i got that totally wrong ?
    Nope, you're not wrong. It is down to individual schools to decide on non-teacher pay issues. LA pay-scales are guidelines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Nope, you're not wrong. It is down to individual schools to decide on non-teacher pay issues. LA pay-scales are guidelines.
    Who foots the bill when someone puts in an equal pay claim? the legal fees can be extortionate and equal pay claims can be backdated 6 yrs. If the schools ends up with a huge legal bill I doubt the LA will bail them out if the school decided to disregard their 'advice'. In our LA the school is obliged to adhere to the LA's decisions on employment, and pay issues. They are not just guidelines here.

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    Schools can choose to disregard the advice of the LA and single status reviews; in doing so they may face litigation if their actions are considered discriminatory. Few schools will want to take the risk so they are likely to go with the LA advice, however they can play within the rules by choosing to regrade staff if they feel their job responsibilities make it justifiable and in doing so protect staff who might otherwise lose out.

    Any savings made as a result of single status go back to the school; any increases have to be found by the school.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    , however they can play within the rules by choosing to regrade staff if they feel their job responsibilities make it justifiable and in doing so protect staff who might otherwise lose out.
    In that case, single status in schools sounds very different to how it's implemented at the LA level, for direct employees of the LA.

    Within an LA regrade would normally only be possible at a much higher level, that's if the LA don't make the process itself not worth the effort for line managers. And there appears to be little in the way of individual protection for staff....for most it's a blanket protection. i.e all staff who've lost out have there pay protected with or without increments [subject to negotiation with unions] for x number of years, before they would have to accept the offer on a different and/or move onto a PRP scheme.

    So maybe there's a question there about the disparity of rights between support staff in the LA and support staff in schools. Why isn't the leeway afforded to governors and school principle not afforded to line managers in the LA, when it comes to negotiating staff salaries and T&C's ?

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    I worked as a TA for about 4 years.

    My pay was calculated hourly for term time only - no holiday pay and no pay for breaks at first (until we protested when asked to do playground duties)

    Our pay was worked out for the year and then divided by 12 so we received a payment every month

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    I worked as a TA for about 4 years.

    My pay was calculated hourly for term time only - no holiday pay and no pay for breaks at first (until we protested when asked to do playground duties)

    Our pay was worked out for the year and then divided by 12 so we received a payment every month
    Same here, except breaks - we only get paid if we are on duty.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    I worked as a TA for about 4 years.

    My pay was calculated hourly for term time only - no holiday pay and no pay for breaks at first (until we protested when asked to do playground duties)

    Our pay was worked out for the year and then divided by 12 so we received a payment every month
    How'd they get around holiday pay? As it is a statutory requirement isn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    How'd they get around holiday pay? As it is a statutory requirement isn't it?
    That's just was I was going to say!

    Holidays and holiday pay

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    In that case, single status in schools sounds very different to how it's implemented at the LA level, for direct employees of the LA.

    Within an LA regrade would normally only be possible at a much higher level, that's if the LA don't make the process itself not worth the effort for line managers. And there appears to be little in the way of individual protection for staff....for most it's a blanket protection. i.e all staff who've lost out have there pay protected with or without increments [subject to negotiation with unions] for x number of years, before they would have to accept the offer on a different and/or move onto a PRP scheme.

    So maybe there's a question there about the disparity of rights between support staff in the LA and support staff in schools. Why isn't the leeway afforded to governors and school principle not afforded to line managers in the LA, when it comes to negotiating staff salaries and T&C's ?
    I can only speak from personal experience as an ex-Chair of Governors. At a superficial level, during Single status review, the LA will attempt to 'pigeon-hole' every employee according to a set of job templates. As school-based staff rarely fit neatly into their template structure there are always going to be mismatches & differences of opinion. By way of example; a clerical assistant in the council offices will seldom do the same work of a clerical assistant in school.... the council may have hundreds of clerical assistants, schools have a handful (or less if a primary school). The school-based job is almost always more complex & demands greater flexibility. Unfortunately the template will be based upon the majority.

    In our case, we had a member of staff who had been downgraded as part of single status because the LA valued their role less than the school did. The Governors & SMT (personnel subcommittee) looked at the job spec for the individual and compared it against a more senior post and decided that the role they were carrying out could be more accurately represented by the more senior postholder. A little bit of tweaking with documented responsibilities & job description and we were able to maintain their salary at the level the school felt the job was worth.

    HR depts all over the country are spending a fortune on consultants and software packages 'designed' to turn job evaluation into a science, which it is not. The process is flawed and relies upon sampling a handful of people to decide which job template suits that job level.

    If we as ICT support staff were all all to sit down and write a 'roles & responsibilities' specification for ourselves what chance do you think we would have in all getting the same answer? What chance would we have if we even did it by LA? Even so, the LAs will still try and assign us all to a 'job template' based upon interviewing maybe one or two people in the role across their whole employee base.

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    leco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    How'd they get around holiday pay? As it is a statutory requirement isn't it?
    We do get statutory holiday pay for bank holidays, but not for the whole of the school holidays. i.e. we are paid for two days at Easter but not for the rest of the two week break.

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    @broc

    I think the your use of the word 'pigeon-hole' as being very apt to describe the single status process......

    i've always likened the job evaluations and new grades involved in various single status processes as moving two steps to the right, there's no science involved, other than it appears deliberately or otherwise that certain groups are destined to lose out.....and the authorities have doubtless spent a lot of money on consultants and ineffectual formulas to make sure the right number of coins land heads up.

    But if there are indescrepancies and special cases on the micro level in a school, think how many such indescrepancies exist across an entire LA.
    You still have the same need for flexibility at LA level as you do in a school.....schools don't have the monopoly on support staff who are hard to pigeon-hole and who perform unusually varied roles.

    My point is that if governers have the leeway becuase a school is a unique working environment with certain staffing requirements, that applies a hundred-fold to various depts. across an entire local authority. LA support staff, it is only fair, should be granted the same flexibility and leeways to have their salaries and T&C's determined by the people who know the value of their role, namely the line managers and superiors. Unfortunately for the LA staff the only right of reply is the appeals process which i've heard can take years to sort out.

    I advocate the schools approach of taking on the advise of the LA but having ultimately the autonomy to make decisions about where within the grades the staff are placed, i think it should apply to all who are subject to single status....whether in LA or schools.



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