Learning Support

This page contains links to a range of useful sites and documents connected to the work of teaching assistants, early years practitioners and other support staff. In spite of varied research evidence it seems clear that, at their best, those highly committed and skilled adults who support teachers and learners in nurseries, schools and academies make a massive difference to progress and outcomes. Whether you’re a leader, a manager or a practitioner, I hope you find these resources helpful in allowing you to challenge children even more effectively, whilst addressing their individual needs too of course.

A number of organisations were granted permission by the DfE in 2016 to publish these concise professional standards for teaching assistants.

Standards for TAs

These teaching assistant standards are non-mandatory and non-statutory, but they sit alongside the statutory standards for teachers and headteachers and help to define the role and purpose of teaching assistants to ensure that schools can maximise the educational value and contribution of employees working directly with pupils. (Extract from the introduction)

You may be aware of earlier standards, published by the now defunct TDA, called the National Occupational  Standards for Supporting Teaching and Learning. These consisted of no less than 394 pages of standards which defined a vast array of learning support roles. This document comprises just eleven pages, making it much more accessible to those who wish to audit their own or others’ work, and decide ways in which the work of learning support staff can improved.

Two invaluable guides for school leaders, class teachers and teaching assistants

MITAI stumbled across this fantastic book through the Institute of Education website, and read it as part of my research for a course that I’ve been delivering since 2013 called  Making the Most of Your Support Staff. I managed to get through it remarkably quickly, mostly during two train journeys between Grimsby and Plymouth, and found myself wishing that it had been available whilst I was still a headteacher. The book is grounded in robust research into the effectiveness of teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools, but has masses of practical advice for school leaders and class or subject teachers, including a broad selection of thought-provoking case studies. For more information, to purchase a copy or to access free-to-download audit resources click on the link. http://maximisingtas.co.uk.

TAGEIA more recently published book, again written by Rob Webster and others, is effectively a text
book for TAs on how to scaffold children and young people’s learning more effectively, as well as addressing other key aspects of the learning support role. The title of this book is The Teaching Assistant’s Guide to Effective Interaction, and it would provide an excellent resource to any TAs’ who would like to develop their skills, perhaps working collaboratively with colleagues through a series of very practical reflective activities that are spread throughout the book.