Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools


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Some schools use the findings of their audit to dissolve their current teaching assistant roles and re-establish a new job description more in keeping with what is required by the SEND Code of Practice, Ofsted and the Department for Education DfE. The aim of the audit then is to provide you with sufficient evidence to be able to take such action, be confident in your expenditure and ensure you have value for money while maximising the impact on student outcomes.

Surely, we must work out all the needs of the students, work out which classes they are in and then divvy up support. Easy, right? End of article? The trap to avoid. We found that:.

The Big Picture

At its heart, the teaching assistant audit has much less to do with teaching assistants and more to do with student needs and how they can be best met. Here now follows some guidelines for your TA Audit. First, consider the management aspects of the teaching assistants. A useful exercise can be to imagine that you are a new teaching assistant to the school. Ask the SENCO or teaching assistant manager to explain in detail your initiation, how you get your training and guidance and look at the information you are provided with.

Now you should be able to answer the question about whether you would have enough detailed guidance and support to drive student progress. How often are you to be line managed, have targets set, and engage in CPD? Is the school really getting the very most of you? How often are you liaising with teachers and are the they working with you in a respectful and collaborative way to maximise the outcomes of the students?

What do you really need to progress? In trying to answer this, draw on your best source of understanding — your training and experience.

Conducting a Teaching Assistant Audit

Shut out parent, student and teacher voice — the question is looking for an expert pedagogical response. What does this student need? Most times you will come back to the same simple pedagogic principles of fostering independence and maximising participation in class. The obvious next question then is what sort of support does a student need to attain that?

Do not do this exercise for every student, especially those with mild learning difficulties, without consulting specialist advice. The value for you is:. In addition, there are two teaching assistants individually assigned to two EHCP students: one for 25 hours the other 20 hours. Both these students are in the same class. The current strategies are inconsistent and ineffective because they are not specific, measurable and are not personalised. The teachers do not effectively liaise with and guide the teaching assistants and consequently the teaching assistant is used in an unspecified way to help with no sense of whether this is positive in outcome or otherwise.

The above is an example of deployment that makes no use of the EHCP outcomes. This is what outcome-led thinking could look like:.


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Teaching assistants in EYFS through to year 1 should be deployed in ratio to students. Going forward, your teaching assistant deployment should be based on:.

How To Work As A Teaching Assistant

The most valuable result of the above is reviewing what the students really need and how the current support system is meeting those needs. This simple formula can be applied across all issues in all inclusion groups: what is the need and what are we doing effectively to meet that need?

Conducting a Teaching Assistant Audit - Inclusion Expert

During this time he designed numerous effective and simple systems to help teachers and school leaders to manage information and maximise the impact of their interventions. He realised that many teachers were struggling unnecessarily with the demands of Inclusion, that his ideas and systems really worked and that there was an opportunity to make a difference to children across the country by sharing them.

Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. A simple goal There are three questions your audit should answer for you: Is the current form of teaching assistant deployment effective? What strategy would maximise the impact of the teaching assistants?

Therefore, how many teaching assistants are needed to meet the needs of the students? The teaching assistants were not actively line-managed, and there was a lack of clarity around what they were doing in the classroom. There was no evidence that the teaching assistants are trained sufficiently to meet the specific needs of students. There was no consistent gathering of impact data for student progress which partly explained why the SEN students did not make sufficient progress.

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The strategy of teaching assistant deployment had evolved organically rather than being planned and carefully executed. Here now follows some guidelines for your TA Audit Step 1: A view of all the relevant documents EHCPs and any other SEN files or information, all advice to teachers and teaching assistants regarding students — ask yourself if they are aligned. Do the outcomes on the EHCPs match the advice to teachers? Is the advice to teachers meaningful and useful or, as we find often, vague? Tracking or logging information about student progress in or outside of the classroom e.

Does it actually give you what you need to make decisions about interventions and support? Any information that shows how teaching assistants are guided, who by and the structure for liaison with classroom teachers or the SENCO in support of student outcomes. Any log or detail about teaching assistant CPD and how it may meet the needs of student outcomes — are your teaching assistants trained to meet the needs of your students and are they line managed every other week with very specific SMART targets?

If you want to get the best out of your pupils in Maths then schools need specialist help. Without a common framework and set of standards, the use of TAs is likely to continue to vary widely, as will their effectiveness and the quality of their student interactions.

Teaching Assistants

While professional standards for teaching assistants should be high on the agenda, the draft standards produced in which would have been published as non-statutory advice were axed by the then Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan. This was an odd move, given that so many school leaders would have readily welcomed the set of standards.

The resource is enormously helpful, but the government was not involved in its creation. It is essential that teaching assistants have an up-to-date knowledge of the recent changes to the mathematics curriculum and not just the content changes but the change in emphasis: i. Reviewing your current practice and assessing whether changes should be made to ensure the effective use of TAs is paramount and should be a key element of your school improvement plan. This will give you the opportunity to assess the way that TAs are trained for their roles and whether they are deployed in ways that allow them to work most effectively.


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  4. For most teachers, managing resources is part and parcel of the daily routine, but how much thought do we give to the TA as a valuable human resource? There are four areas to think about:. Without effective communication before a lesson then a TA will have little direction during it. As such it should be planned into the day for feedback and for a TA to provide ideas, suggestions, and ask questions. Appropriate working arrangements are an important factor and you will need to review where TAs are expected to work.

    Too often TAs are expected to work in a cramped or inappropriate working space with a small group or individuals and this is not conducive to effective learning. Where possible children should be working within the classroom alongside their peers so that teacher interaction is maintained. As a school senior leaders need to discuss where TAs require further training. These areas could include more than Maths e.

    If this post has led you to consider how TAs in your school are being deployed, and whether they can be used more effectively, here are some questions to think about that can be used to inform your thinking:. Enjoyed this?

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    Read our blog on the secret to school leadership — keeping it simple. Or alternatively you can introduce your teaching assistant to our 15 free KS2 maths starters to help them get your maths lessons off to a great start! View Larger Image. How do the best schools use their teaching assistants? John Dabell takes us through it. They suggest we need to consider three organisational and structural factors: Deployment of TAs Practice: TAs interactions with pupils Preparedness Deploying your Teaching Assistant Not all TAs are deployed effectively and there are huge variations in how they are trained.

    Planning for Teaching Assistant deployment It is down to teachers and particularly the senior management team to make sure that teaching assistants are used effectively. Use TAs to add value to what teachers do, not replace them.

    Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools
    Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools
    Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools
    Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools
    Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools
    Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools Making the Most of Your Teaching Assistant: Good Practice in Primary Schools

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