Guerrillamum's Blog


Every Teacher Matters – and so do TAs!

The Natioinal Autistic Society’s ‘Education Update’ page is asking for comments regarding Reform’s new report ‘Every Teacher Matters’ at:

http://nas-education-update.blogspot.com/2010/11/reform-some-radical-proposals-for.html

A worrying aspect of this report is that it advocates limiting the use of teaching assistants (TAs) in class, suggesting that extensive use of TAs could even be damaging, particularly in the case of children with Special Educational Needs.What do you think about this?( See my comment on the Education Update page.)

A good TA has often been all that has stood between our children and failure. I know this to be true because they WERE failing before they had TA support.

An impartial examination of the role of TAs in education must be carried out before any further changes are made. Reform is a self-declared right-thinking organisation, set up by a current Conservative government minister. They are clearlly not impartial and my view of teh report is that they set off from an ideological viewpoint i.e Cutting costs and then looked for evidence to support it. The worrying thing is that they have influence over the Government (or is it the other way round!)

Please please please either responsd to the NAS or respond on here, it really is important. Whilst you are on the NAS website please take a look at what the Government are trying to do to the Autism Act, watering down the statutory guidance to reduce it’s funding implications.

Ellen Power

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9 Comments so far
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TAs are vital in our case. In fact, I would rate a lot of the TA’s higher than a lot of the classroom teachers my daughter had.

Jx

Comment by Frdragonspouse (Jill)

Hi Jill, TAs who employ good practice are a vital part of our children’s learning too.

Ellen P

Comment by guerrillamum

I agree that a good TA is a gold nugget & needs to be kept. However, the role of the TA does need looking at as some still think they are to be velco-ed to a child. Some schools have looked at the employment of a TA for an SEN child as the answer to that particualr problem (often with the best of intentions!)This can cause all sorts of problems including non progress & too great a reliance on the adult. As usual, there seems to be this ‘one size fits all’ type approach.

Comment by Julia

Hi Julia and Citizenr, you are right, a one size fits all approach doesn’t work in Education in general and particularly when applied to TA support. Certainly a ‘velcro TA’ is to be avoided too. We have always had very good and creative TAs who have been able to work with our children to develope their independence and progress has always been a priority – and they have made great progress. We know they wouldn’t have done without their TAs, and I do remain worried that this role will be limited as a cost cutting exercise and without looking at all of the issues properly. I think proper and independent scrutiny is the key.

Ellen P

Comment by guerrillamum

I agree with Julia’s comment- too many times the TA is seen as a baby sitter for a particular child or group of children or not deployed effectively or worse, sitting doing nothing while the teacher talks to the class.

Comment by citizenr

What Bull!!
If my son didn’t have the TA he had now he wouldn’t be at school (He is just about already!) I’m not knocking his teacher and yer he matters, But to me sorry….. If this offends anyone.. His TA matters more to me and my son. Why? Because it’s this TA that is my child’s teacher. His been on half days, Isolated from his peers and class.. Working one2one with his TA (NOT TEACHER) in a different part of the building as a means to keep him from permanent exclusion as I refused to send him to a PRU that was in no way “Autism or SEN friendly” With prison style lock up and guards my son to one look and shook. To be honest so did I! We are currently awaiting the decision on his statement.. Do you know things are so bad the LEA agreed to an emergency “Special” School placement. The school I wanted him to attend the one I intended to name in part 4 of a statement (fingers crossed he gets one) Refused him on the grounds they couldn’t meet his needs. The total shock of it as I had viewed the school they have been supplying outreach services to his current Mainstream and I was told that yes we can meet his needs but sorry no places. But now its we are full plus your child is to challenging, To sodding “Autistic” if you like!! and he has Aspergers.. This is a school that takes all children on the spectrum.. Children who are “Profoundly” autistic and those on the “Higher” end of the spectrum. But due to no places and his challenging behaviour his needs can’t be met! Funny that, I’m sure it’s the fact he can’t cope in his current mainstream environment that causes this Challenging behaviour! Now my point is his TA the one that puts all the bloody (excuse me) effort into trying to engage my son, The one trying to build his crushed self esteem because of this system, the one on minimum wage is Now the one who maybe causing him more damage then good? What ever!!! It’s just another crap excuse to try and make Government cuts. Stop spending money on Office Art, How to wash your hands videos (Come on we are not 3 years old!) and worse still councils that pay advisers to tell them how best to use the space available across Council buildings.. I’m not talking silly money but huge sums rumoured to be £650.00 a day. These guys are on six month contracts.. And there me and loads and loads of others battling our backsides off trying to get a statement, Provision, even a diagnosis, Our Local support groups like my local autism NAS service are threaten by cuts.. They are protesting and seeking support through the means of petitions! Now this!! Yet another threat to our children who have enough of a hard time at school WITH a TA. Well it’s a great plan for the Government.. Think how much money they would save if they didn’t need to put those hours of one2one TA support down on a child’s statement! YES IT MAKES ME MAD!! Claire. x

Comment by clairelouise

You’re right Claire, I’ve been there, and I agree with you about how vital TAs can be to the life of a child who is struggling at school. There hasn’t been much shouting in the Press about this but I am trying to raise the issue as much as I can. Ellen P

Comment by guerrillamum

Great to read your post and these comments.
I edit Learning Support, a professional magazine for teaching assistants.We’re running a We Need TAs campaign, and already have more than 3000 names on our petition at http://weneedtas.blogspot.com/

Comment by Frankie

Hello there Frankie, I did retweet your We Need TAs campaign, and will take another look at it. I am afraid I did it in the run up to Christmas when we were all getting the flu so it is a bit nebulous. Hope the campaign is going well.

Ellen Power

Comment by guerrillamum




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