Guest ben.karen

Teaching assistant posts - lack of them.

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    Guest ben.karen

    Hi,

    I have just read all the replies to the many people who are looking for TA posts and it seems they are as rare as hens teeth. After spending the last 7 years gaining TA experience (inc SEN) and qualifications in that area I feel really depressed.

     

    Does anyone know if the same situation applies to special schools and hospital schools, including child psychiatry units?

     

    Just wondering if this may be the way to go. Thinking I might have to change my career to a air conditioning engineer!

    Any help gratefully received.

    Thanks

    Karen

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    Guest Deb17

    Don't know if this is going to be any help or not, but these jobs really are pretty much unavailable, particularly to new arrivals. Special needs teaching over here seems to refer mainly to assisting with indigenous children and refugee/new arrivals from non-English speaking countries. That seems to be all that's needed. I'm a teacher and I can't get a job, either teaching, or as an assistant. These positions are jealously guarded by postholders and it seems you have to 'serve your time' as a volunteer in schools before you are considered for paid posts. Having looked for anything in education for the last two years I haven't seen any jobs in SEN in any of the specialized environments you mentioned either. I haven't even seen a SPECIAL school, as mainstream schools have 'special' classes tacked on for the sake of inclusion. Sorry.

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    Guest ben.karen

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply. I think I'm going to concentrate on getting experience in another field.

     

    Good luck in finding a education post.

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    Hi Karen,

     

    Deb is right in that many schools have units for SEN kids attached, however there are a few specialist special schools too. I have tried to attach a list (at this point I have no idea if I actually have as I'm not very good with computers!).

     

    Some of the schools on the list -such as Hamilton- operate in two ways; they have kids within the school on Negotiated Education Programs, then a more separate unit for kids who have more specialist disabilities. If that makes sense. I haven't worked there much but it has a nice feel about it. Then there are the units within the schools that are not on this list at all. Some, like Pasadena, operate as a separate part of the school for work (although the kids can elect to join mainstream for a particular subject) whilst being recognised as part of the school for assemblies, social, sports and special days. An example of a unit operating totally as part of the school might be Aberfoyle Park High School. The kids there are totally part of mainstream/Ignite (according to ability), attend 'normal' home groups, but access support through the Learning Support Unit (which is where I am). These kids have less obvious problems, such as Asperger's Syndrome,and might just need a place to cool down, or have someone work with them in class, or just use the extra support time that comes with inclusion in this Unit. Some primary schools also have 'rooms' where SEN children -or kids that might just need a few lessons in there to catch up with a particular skill or subject- are part of the school in every way but educationally.

     

    Whilst we protect our positions fiercely, most (if not all)positions are on a term by term basis. You really need to get 'out there', put your resume around, perhaps offer to show them you are everything you claim to be by volunteering, and get known. SSO's with experience of working with kids with disabilities should (apparently!) find it easier to get work, even if only on an on-call basis because whilst a TA in a mainstream school can be off sick and not need to be replaced, the position has to be covered if for an SEN school/child/whatever! The hardest part, IMHO, is getting your SSO number as DECS can be reluctant to issue them without (apparently!) the principal claiming that there is no other person that could do what they need you to do.

     

    Hope that reassures you a bit. Obviously I can only talk from my own experience or what I was told whilst going through the process, but a final thought from the principal of PHU...SSO's who can work with SEN kids will be snapped up as soon as they get a number, and are in high demand. Well, that's what she told me anyway!

     

    Or you could try air conditioning of course!

    :cute:LC

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    Hi there,

     

    this discussion has been covered in another post as it is a touchy subject.

     

    I myself had experience as a TA and a SEN, but as said volunteers cover these posts well for schools. The information I was given from DECS and also from Staff at the schools were in order to get your SSO number it is easier to obtain this through Kindy work. Volunteer and do such a great job that they will require your services and you then have your sso number. Thereafter contact the schools to let them know that you are available for work and have your said sso number.

     

    Unfortunately, I tried this, granted not for too long, but couldn't wait as money was dwindling fast. I then contacted childcare centres and put myself available for casual relief staff hours. This gets you $17 per hour, which for some isn't a great wage, but for me is was $17 ph, more than what I was getting before.

     

    I feel that even with doing this side of work, there are oppportunities for full time/permanent work if you are looking to do it. You can pick and choose the hours you work, granted some of the days you want to work nobody calls you for a shift. I have registered with 2 centres and I am in the process of registering for more, in the hope that I can get a wage out of it. (whilst I am waiting for my self employment to take off)

     

    We all need to pay our way and sometimes need to take a step back or for some a huge leap and a couple of shoves back just to get started.

     

    In my opinion I would take anything that is going just now, for the sake of putting food in my childrens mouths and keeping a roof over our head, so that the money we do have can be put to better use when we are in a position to buy our first aussie house together.

     

     

    Good luck to you x

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    Guest Nick11
    Hi,

    I have just read all the replies to the many people who are looking for TA posts and it seems they are as rare as hens teeth. After spending the last 7 years gaining TA experience (inc SEN) and qualifications in that area I feel really depressed.

     

    Does anyone know if the same situation applies to special schools and hospital schools, including child psychiatry units?

     

    Just wondering if this may be the way to go. Thinking I might have to change my career to a air conditioning engineer!

    Any help gratefully received.

    Thanks

    Karen

     

    As a matter of interest you may be able to get yourself qualifed in a childrens centre as a team leader - money isn't too bad - $ 24 an hour - more if you have a degree and they are so desperate for staff the hours are pretty flexible.

    No school hols though and the work is physically demanding! That said - no stress about inspections, league tables or pages and pages of planning!

     

    Have to admit I quite enjoy doing it now after being shell shocked for the first few months!

    Plus if any teaching positions become availiable - which might well happen in the future - I should be first in line!

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    Guest Libby1971

    I was just about to say there were special schools, because I have seen them, and LC beat me to it:notworthy:.

     

    I would start contacting schools or more specifically District Offices who can give you more tailored advice or point you in the direction of Heads to talk to. For the area I live in, I am classed as Wallara district and therefore nearly always advised to talk to a particular High School HT.

     

    I am not able really to say how the systems relating to SSOs operate. In my experience as a high school teacher, in state schools, there may be a SEN unit adn in some cases, there will be students who have a SSO attached to them eg if they limited co-ordination.

     

    In private schools, parents etc generally volunteer in the first instance and then may be taken on as a paid position becomes available. However, being a TA may not be all you are expected to do. There is one at the school who also splits her time as a librarian. So your idea of school maintainance and TA may not be such a bad one!!!;)

     

    Libby

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    Hi,

    I am in the same situation been a T.A in uk in SEN To find special schools I went through the phone book and looked up the ones near me and sent out my c.v and a letter, It was bad timing though as it is the school holidays at the min, I am currently going through the process of going on the bank staff at a special school in Marion, some special schools tend to have their own bank staff instead of agency so you could make enquiries about that.

    Does anyone know if you can apply for a sso number through decs when you are doing relief work? also I know that if you get a perm job with a childcare centre that you have worked in the centre has to pay a fee, but what about if work for the centre on a casual basis?

     

    thanks liz

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    Guest Nick11
    Hi,

    I am in the same situation been a T.A in uk in SEN To find special schools I went through the phone book and looked up the ones near me and sent out my c.v and a letter, It was bad timing though as it is the school holidays at the min, I am currently going through the process of going on the bank staff at a special school in Marion, some special schools tend to have their own bank staff instead of agency so you could make enquiries about that.

    Does anyone know if you can apply for a sso number through decs when you are doing relief work? also I know that if you get a perm job with a childcare centre that you have worked in the centre has to pay a fee, but what about if work for the centre on a casual basis?

     

    thanks liz

     

    Not quite sure what you mean about the centre having to pay a fee.

    I have been trying to get relief staff everyday for the past 2 weeks for our centre - with hardly any luck - so at least you could do that for the time being. Its money in your pocket and ozzie work experience for your cv.

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    hiya, sorry i missed a bit out, the centres have to pay a fee to the agency you are working for if they want to employ you, or thats what select told me - i just wondered if that was the case if a centre took you on as a casual, as I might do what cornelia has done and ask the childcare centres direct.

     

    thanks liz

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    . The information I was given from DECS and also from Staff at the schools were in order to get your SSO number it is easier to obtain this through Kindy work. Thereafter contact the schools to let them know that you are available for work and have your said sso number.

     

    As I understand it -and I make no claims to being right:goofy:!- an SSO number can enable you to undertake different tasks according to what skills were verified on your application. For example kindy workers would be classed as ECWs, people who have been verified as being seen to be able to work with/have experience of (that the school will accept and it can be tough proving skills practised overseas) working with kids with disabilities will be SD, curriculum support etc CS...I know that I could apply for an admin job with DECS and my SSO number would be useful, but unless I could prove that I was able to meet the requirements of that job, I wouldn't be successful.

     

    I worked as a casual in both ABC and Stepping Stones and had a fab time, but although I could use my SSO duty codes to prove I had experience of disabilities, they didn't need me to be an SSO as they are not covered by DECS whilst kindys are.

     

    IMHO the whole SSO thing is a bit like a magician diverting attention away from the crux of the problem, which is that here, just as in the UK, there are many people who want to work child-friendly hours. Too many people; too few posts; too heavy a dependance on volunteers make such jobs hard to find.

     

    I volunteered in the canteen as well as the usual helping on trips etc and I would recommend it to anyone. I had great fun in the 2 years I helped out, got to know the teachers, the school and the kids my children hung about with whilst gaining a reference from someone who knew I was conscientious and good with kids -and adults apparently ( but with a sarcastic sense of humour it took them a few weeks to get their heads around)! Obviously I wasn't doing much, but as Nick said it was experience and a name of someone respected here rather than names of people in another country.

    I don't know! Off before my coffee gets cold!

    LC

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    Guest ben.karen

    Hi,

    Sorry to be a bit daft but can you explain to me what DECS is? I think SSO stands for school support officer but what do the other abbreviations mean? Do I have to send something to DECS to get a SSO number to practise working in a school?

     

    New to all this .

    Thanks

    Karen

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    Guest Libby1971

    DECS is the Department of Education and Children's Services.

     

    All staff who wish to work in a govt school in South Australia must register with them before getting a position. They will be allocated a number of some description as teacher, admin, TA etc.

     

    Clearly for teachers, you can't register with DECS until you have registered with TRB - Teacher Registration Board.

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    Hiya all,

    As I know there is a few of us on here (t.a's) I thought I would pass on some information that I have found out about applying for an sso number to work in a school.

     

    A lovely man at the DECS told me that on the skills/major functions part on the forms instead of getting a school here to sign you off you can get a teacher/head in the school you worked in from the uk to do it. I thought this might help some people as you might get more skills signed off in the uk. You can also use references and certificates as supporting evidence for each skill, as long as someone signs you off on each one you put down.

     

    Some special schools and catholic schools dont require you to have an sso number.

     

    I hope what they have told me is correct as I have been told lots of different things from the DECS not always true, however I send mine off today so will let you know what comes back!

     

     

    Liz

    __________________

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