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Are you a Teaching Assistant or an SEN Teaching Assistant?

Jessica Edmonds, Assistant Secretary
15th November 2019

There's a difference, both in terms of what you do on a day-to-day basis, and what you earn.

If you work in a special school, you may well (and should) be paid as an SEN Teaching Assistant. There is a separate job description and pay scale for this, and essentially you earn more as the role is more demanding. In the past, TAs in mainstream schools did less one-to-one work with children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs), so this role didn't exist. However as ever-increasing numbers of children with EHCPs — often needing on-to-one care — attend mainstream schools, so have the roles of TAs changed.

If you spend 80% of your time supporting pupils with an EHCP, then you are an SEN TA. It is not expected that you should be given a split contract, where for part of the time you are an SEN TA and the rest of the time you're not. Please note that the pupil must have an EHCP, not just be on the SEN register.

SEN TA roles in mainstream schools are temporary. If a current member of staff is appointed, then they should be given a temporary secondment into the SEN TA role thereby protecting their substantive rights. If a new member of staff is appointed, the contract should be temporary, stating that the appointment is only until the exclusive EHCP pupil need is met, ie. when the EHCP pupils move on or when the work becomes less than 80% of the time.

As with all school support roles, SEN TAs are only to be asked to perform tasks that are at their level or lower on the relevant job description/level criteria matrix (available on the Schools Extranet).

If you think your role has changed and you're not being paid at the correct rate, please contact the advice line on 0345 8118111 or the City of Leicester NEU office.

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