Maximising the impact of teaching assistants


Post written for

Investing in training for teaching assistants
How to get the best impact on the whole group?


No doubt we are all in the position where teachers have regular staff meetings which focus on areas of self evaluation and school improvement. Perhaps you’re fORRtunate that all your TAs attend this type of training and can maximise the impact upon a school.

Our biggest impact of any training upon our school has been through some amazing INSET days with Tim Rylands, Shonette Bason-Wood and Jez Rose.

We have 18 teaching assistants working a variety of shift patterns from full-time to only 9 hours a week. They are always invited to every training opportunity we hold, but staff meetings can sometimes be a contentious matter when they are not required to attend and don’t get paid for that time.
We can choose to pay the overtime if budgets allow but that’s not always possible and still doesn’t mean teaching assistants have to attend.

We find ourselves in a position where there have been several courses on offer through the local authority during the day and being faced with between 12 and 15 teaching assistants wanting to attend them. It is neither possible nor practical to have that number of teaching assistants out of school all at once. However, the impact of all of those teaching assistants being exposed to the same message needs to be maximised, especially if they are all keen to develop further.

Our governors met to discuss this matter as we need to have a greater impact upon outcomes for children attracting pupil premium and need to upskill our teaching assistants because they all do things in their own way. Many strategies, tips, learning prompts, action plans, data analysis/tracking and whatever else you want to call them have been shared through staff meetings but the teaching assistant population in attendance means the impact upon consistency of approach from TAs is not there.

We have chosen to provide opportunities for ALL 18 TAs to access training on the following:-

1. SPaG

2. Improving reading

3. Improving writing

4. Good quality intervention

5. Autism awareness

We have ascertained who would be interested in accessing all these courses with the result that all 18 TAs have signed up. How?

Three of the course run from 8.30am-10am and the other two from 2.30pm-4pm. These timings fit within the school day and their working hours.

There are some implications for cover especially where ratios are concerned in EYFS but we have redeployed PT teachers where we have capacity. At the end of the day we are talking about 30-40 minutes of cover and the least amount of disruption to a class.

We intended to broker all this training from the LA until one of my SLMT suggested I used the training materials I had written for the SCITT students and delivered SPaG, reading and writing myself as her SCITT student had been inspired by the courses.

Session one begins this Wednesday on SPaG and we’re off.

A great book to read about making the best of teaching assistants –…;

One thought on “Maximising the impact of teaching assistants

  1. We are often aware that TA’s sit through CPD which is not entirely relevant to them. Our TA’s will use the next training day to visit an outstanding school and work with their SLE on a transition to outstanding day. Hopefully they will see that much of their own practice is already outstanding as well as having opportunities to share good practice. As you say Teaching Assistants are being used to impact upon disadvantaged pupils and we need to ensure that they have opportunities to develop the skills which will enable them to do this effectively. We are constantly seeking ways to support this. As a school we are using The Quality Framework coaching model firstly introducing it for teachers and now TA’s. Hopefully this will support individuals to identify their own areas for development and initiate professional dialogue to support this.

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