Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants
Two team members from the Raedwald Trust have joined colleagues from across the area to take part in a collaborative ‘Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants’ (MITA) project.
One of the Raedwald Trust SENDCos (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) Emma Osborne and Learning and Progress Support team member, Bryony Wellfare, have been involved in the project that aims to explore and develop the way Teaching Assistants and Learning and Progress Support team members are utilised in education – and specifically how they can maximise impact and progress with pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Emma and Bryony have attended termly MITA training sessions alongside other SENDCos and Teaching Assistants from mainstream secondary schools in Ipswich. At the training they have looked at research focussed around the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) guidance report on making best use of Teaching Assistants, and have also been given a Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants (MBUTA) self-assessment tool. The tool helps schools to see where they can best deploy Teaching Assistants and Learning and Progress Support team members within their organisations to maximise their impact on pupils learning.
Rob Webster, Associate Professor at University College London Institute of Education is leading the initiative. His book, ‘Maximising The Impact of Teaching Assistants’, provided as part of the course, is proving to be a useful resource alongside the MBUTA self-assessment tool.
Emma and Bryony have introduced the MBUTA self-assessment tool at the Trust, and it has proved very useful in raising awareness of the importance of deploying Learning and Progress Support team members effectively amongst staff. Its use has also highlighted the importance of planning and communicating the roles of the Learning and Progress Support team throughout the Trust to maximise pupil learning and outcomes.
Emma said: “The project provided a great opportunity to develop links with mainstream schools as well as share practice and discuss ideas.
“The self-assessment tool has really raised awareness of with staff members at the Trust. Staff have approached me and said: “It’s really made me think about how I use the support in my class”.
“We will continue to develop our deployment of Teaching Assistants and the Learning and Progress Support team, making use of the research guidance to inform our practice to maximise the impact of support on pupil learning and progress.”
Through the links made during the project, Raedwald Trust staff will have the opportunity to visit mainstream secondary schools in order to increase awareness of the curriculum in these settings and support pupils with their transition back to mainstream education.
As part of their continuing professional development (CPD), some Raedwald Trust staff members will also have the opportunity to take part in a ‘Maximising the Practice of Teaching Assistants’ training course in the Spring term, which involves two half-day sessions with Teaching Assistants and also a twilight session with teachers.
This training is part of the ongoing commitment the Raedwald Trust has to the professional development of staff members. By investing in the skills of staff, pupils across the Trust will be the ultimate beneficiaries.