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Taking pride in TAs: a case study
Find out how one school benefited from using a formal accreditation process to re-evaluate its training and appraisal schedules for teaching assistants
Camrose Primary School is a two form entry school in Harrow, London, bordering Barnet and Brent.
Over 94% of our pupils are from ethnic minority groups, and 80% have English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils with SEND is below the national average, while the number of pupils eligible for free school meals is above average.
Community integration has always been crucial to our school’s performance. In July 2016, we were not only reaccredited with the Inclusion Quality Mark but also named a Centre of Excellence for Inclusion. Most of the pupils’ families have additional language needs and find it difficult to help their children with school work.
With this in mind, we have worked hard to foster better parental engagement by running English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and homework clubs, and more recently by becoming the first school in Harrow to complete the Leading Parent Partnership Award (LPPA).
We had just completed the LPPA when our headteacher found out about the Best Practice with Teaching Assistants Award (BPTAA). After reading a summary of what it involved, she felt that Camrose had already taken most of the steps required for completion of the award.
Nevertheless, we felt that support staff could do more to provide the best possible outcomes for our pupils with SEN. Most of these pupils have moderate learning difficulties or longstanding pastoral issues, the latter owing in part to poorer socio-economic backgrounds (the school has a higher-than-average deprivation indicator of 0.30).
Support staff could do more to provide the best possible outcomes for our pupils with SEN
To support pupils from such diverse social and cultural backgrounds, we knew we had to make the most effective use of our teaching assistants.
The most valuable improvements the BPTAA helped us to identify concerned our TA training schedule. We felt we could do more to gather the opinions of individual TAs, and tailor the training we offer to the needs, skills and talents of our team.
We felt we could do more to tailor the training we offer to the needs, skills and talents of our team
To make sure they are used to best effect, we will carry out a yearly review of TAs’ skills, and continue exploring new ways to capture their feedback.
Finally, we tweaked our appraisal policy to make sure that the process for appraising TAs was clearly set out.
Completing the award
The BPTAA has highlighted the commitment and pride our support staff take in their roles within the school. It is a convincing indication that at Camrose our practice with TAs is exemplary.
The work that needed to be done to complete the award was far more time-consuming than we had anticipated, and some of the KPIs were slightly repetitive. A system for cross-referencing some of our evidence would have been useful.
The BPTAA has highlighted the commitment and pride our support staff take in their roles within the school
But overall, we enjoyed the process of completing the award and everyone - pupils, parents and teaching assistants alike - has benefited from it.
Last Updated:29 Aug 2017